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Am I keeping my child in a car safety restraint long enough?

By Ken Gibson on November 25, 2013

New research has given us better insights on how to keep our children safer during accidents. That’s important because vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of kids today.

Summarizing the latest studies, here’s what we know:

  1. Keep babies in rear-racing car seats until they’re 2 if possible.
  2. Keep children in 5-point harness car seats as long as possible.
  3. Keep children in booster seats until they’ve met all criteria to move into seat belts alone.

These websites explain why longer time in restraints is better:

  1. “Your baby should remain rear-facing until she is 2 years of age, or until she reaches the highest weight or height limit allowed by the manufacturer of her child safety seat. Some rear-facing child safety seats can accommodate children up to 35 pounds or more.” www.chop.edu
  2. “Most car seat manufacturers now offer several models that provide a secure harness system for children who are 50-85 pounds. This allows children to remain in a five-point harness car seat for a longer period of time, with the benefit of better crash protection.” www.chkd.org
  3. “Seat belts are made for adults. Your child should stay in a belt-positioning booster seat until the seat belts fit correctly, typically when your child reaches 4 feet 9 inches in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age.” www.chop.edu

Here are other excellent websites for more information:
www.boosterseats4safety.org
exchange.aaa.com

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