Child Safety in the Car

child safetyGive your kid a “boost” with child safety

As parents, grandparents or caregivers, we always want to do the best thing to ensure child safety. We make sure that they don’t eat too much candy. We teach them to look both ways before crossing the street.

But when our kids are riding in the car, are we making sure they are buckled up correctly? Even though experts for years have stressed the importance of child safety seats, the number one killer in the United States for children ages 2-14 is car crashes.

Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) is a joint effort between State Farm Insurance and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia®. The partnership is dedicated to understanding how and why children are injured or killed in auto crashes. PCPS began in 1997 and continues to be the largest study of its kind, having recently been expanded to include crashes in Texas.

One of the earliest findings of the study was that children ages 2 to 5 who use adult seat belts are 3.5 times more likely to suffer significant injury than those correctly restrained in a child safety seat or belt-positioning booster seat. In 2004, PCPS data showed more than 61 percent of children ages 4 to 8 were not optimally restrained and were often using only a seat belt.

Seat belts are designed to fit adults, not children. A belt-positioning booster seat, which is the next step after a child has completely outgrown a child safety seat, gives kids a lift so that a lap and shoulder belt fits them properly.

Besides emphasizing the need for the intermediate step of the belt-positioning booster seat, findings from the PCPS study show that boosters reduce the risk of injury for 4 to 7 year-olds by 59 percent compared to those using only adult safety belts.  Another recent discovery by PCPS researcher is children are 40 percent less likely to be injured in a crash if they are seated in the rear seat versus the front seat. This supports the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics that all children under age 13 should ride in the back seat. Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recommendations, the following tips are critical to help ensure the safety of children riding in vehicles.

Child safety in you car

If the Child is:

A newborn up to at least 1 year and at least 20 pounds

  • Use a rear-facing infant seat or rear-facing convertible seat.
  • Keep the child in the rear-facing seat until he or she has completely outgrown the seat.
  • Never place a rear-facing infant in the front seat with an airbag.
  • Follow the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions on correct restraint use and installation.

Over at least 1 year and over at least 20 pounds, up to 40 pounds.

  • Use a forward-facing convertible seat or forward-facing combination seat with harness straps.
  • Keep the child in the forward-facing child safety seat until he or she has completely outgrown it.
  • Follow the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions on correct restraint use and installation.

Over 40 pounds and up to at least age 8, unless 4’9” tall

  • Use a belt-positioning booster seat with lap and shoulder seat belt.
  • Follow the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions on correct restraint use and installation.

Over age 8 or 4’9” tall

  • Use a lap and shoulder safety belt.
  • Follow vehicle manufacturers’ instructions on correct restraint use.

If you would like to learn more about the correct way children should be seated in a car or about the Partners for Child Passenger Safety study, visit www.statefarm.com/learning/child_safety/kidsafety.asp

By

State Farm® Agent Jay for more tips like child safety go to Safety Tips.

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