Just as your seat belt can save your life in the event of a vehicle crash, so, too, can your child’s car seat save his or hers.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proper child car seat usage achieves the following:
- In 2017, child car seats saved 325 young children below the age of four from dying.
- When compared with using seat belts alone, child car seats reduce the risk of childhood motor vehicle crash injuries by somewhere between 71% and 82%.
- For children between the ages of four and eight, booster seats reduce injury risk by 45% when compared to seat belt usage alone.
You should place your infant and very young child(ren) in rear-facing car seats, preferably situated in your vehicle’s safest area: the middle of its back seat. The CDC cautions never placing your child or his or her car seat in a front seat. Why? Because air bags can kill very young children in a crash.
Depending on how quickly your child grows, place him or her in a forward-facing car seat once he or she outgrows the rear-facing one. A good child car seat will come with instructions setting forth its height or weight maximums.
Once your child outgrows his or her forward-facing car seat, buy him or her a booster seat. He or she should continue to use this seat until attaining the approximate height of 4-foot-9. At this point, adult seat belts likely will fit him or her. Most children reach this height some time between their ninth and 12th birthdays.