Car Safety for Growing Babies and Toddlers From 4 to 24 months Child Safety Facts 2012 Babies are safest in the back seat in their rear-facing car seats! Car Seat Basics • The rear-facing position is safest in a crash. • Usearear-facingcarsafetyseat (car seat) up to 24 months or as long as the child still fits the car seat size limits. Convertible car seats can be used rear facing up to 30 to 45 pounds. • NEVER turn your baby to face forward before his first birthday. For a premature baby, this means waiting until at least one year after her original due date. • Buckle up your baby in the back seat. The back seat is safer for all children. The center back seat is safest if the car seat can be installed properly there. • ALWAYS read and follow the instructions for the car seat and the car. Danger: Air Bags A baby riding in the front seat of a car with an air bag is in great danger. The air bag could kill a baby if it hits the back of the car seat. Riding Rear Facing Rear facing means that the baby is looking toward the back window of the car when she is in the car seat. Why should my baby ride rear facing? The back of a rear-facing car seat supports a baby or toddler’s large head and weak neck. A rear-facing seat lowers the chance of serious injuries in a crash. Rearfacing child seats should be used as long as possible. This is the safest position for a baby or toddler. When should I move my baby from a small infant car seat? The car seat must fit the baby’s weight and height. Some babies may outgrow an infant car seat (the type that can be used only rear facing) by 6 to 9 months, because they are too heavy or too tall. Check the label or instructions. Baby is too heavy for the infant car seat if his weight is over the top weight limit. Baby is too tall when the top of his head comes to one inch below the top of the car seat shell. Move baby into a convertible seat when he outgrows the infant seat. Use the convertible seat facing the rear. See page 2 to learn about convertible car seats. I have a convertible seat. How long can I use it rear facing? New convertible seats can safely hold a child up to 30 to 45 pounds in the rear-facing position. Also, the child’s head must be an inch below the top of the car seat. (Check the weight limits on the seat label or instructions.) Is a rear-facing car seat safe for a baby who is tall for his age? Never put a rear-facing car seat in front with an active air bag. Check the owner’s manual for more information about your car’s air bags. A sports car or pickup truck with no back seat or a very small back seat may have a switch or sensor that turns off the front air bag. Make sure the air bag is turned off before putting a child in front. (Turn it on again for adult passengers.) A toddler should ride facing the rear until she reaches the maximum rearfacing weight limit or is too tall for her convertible car seat. A baby or a toddler can ride in a rearfacing car seat until his head gets to one inch below the top of the convertible seat. A rear-facing child can be killed by the impact of an opening air bag. Provided by: Make Safe Kids Tarrant County Every Ride led by Cook Children’s A Safe682-885-2634 Ride FACT SHEET © 2012 Safe Ride News™ Publications, 800-403-1424 • www.saferidenews.com Reproducible by SRN Fact Sheet purchasers only. For non-commercial distribution only. A4 Revised 1/12 Car Safety for Growing Babies Choosing a Car Seat for a Bigger Baby The “best car seat” is one that fits your baby, fits into your car securely, and is one you will use correctly every time. A convertible car seat is bigger than an infant car seat. Choose one with a rear-facing upper Convertible seats can be used weight limit of 30 to 45 facing the rear up to 30 to 45 pounds. Use it rearpounds. Then use them facing facing up to its maximum forward. weight or height, if possible. Turn it to face forward when the child reaches the rear-facing upper weight and/or height limit. Is your baby tall for his age? Look for a convertible seat with high shoulder strap slots, so it will fit for a long time. (Take a measuring tape to the store!) Is your baby heavy for his age? Look for a convertible that can be used forward facing with its harness to a high weight. Some can be used up to 65 to 90 pounds, unless the child gets too tall. Choose a car seat with a harness that is easy for you to adjust. Car seats with the harness adjuster in front are usually easier to use. Try a car seat in the back seat of your car before you buy it. Make sure it fits and can be tightly installed. Try the seat in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions. Warning: Forward-facing Car Seats Some seats are used only facing forward. Forward-facing car seats are only for children over age 1. Some labels say that a baby as small as 20 to 22 pounds can use a forward-facing seat, but it is safest to keep your toddler in a rear-facing seat as long as possible, until at least 24 months old. Check a second-hand car seat carefully 2 Installing a Car Seat It is very important that the car seat is tightly secured in the car. If the car seat slides around on the vehicle seat, your child could be seriously injured in a crash. Use the seat belt or LATCH straps to attach the car seat tightly. Always read the instructions that come with the car seat. Also read the section on seat belts, LATCH, air bags, and car seats in your car manual. Choose LATCH or the seat belt. Use whichever gives the tightest fit. Do NOT use both at the same time, unless the instructions say it is okay. (Most do not.) To check for a tight fit, hold the car seat where the LATCH straps or seat belt hold the car seat. Pull forward and from side to side. The car seat should not move more than one inch. (Do not grab near the top of the car seat to check for tightness. Movement there is okay.) Buckle Your Baby in Snugly Put the harness straps in the slots at or just below your baby’s shoulders when rear facing. Adjust the harness to be snug so you cannot pinch the strap between your fingers (picture, right). If an older baby can lean forward, the harness should be tighter. Avoid dressing your baby in thick clothing. That can make it impossible to get the harness snug enough. Use the pinch test. Tighten the straps first. In cold If you can pinch the weather, put a blanket over, not strap, it is not snug under, the straps. enough. Resources National Auto Safety Hotline: check recalls at 888-327-4236 or 800A second-hand car seat may have hidden safety problems. 424-9153 (tty), www.safercar.gov • Make sure all recalls (if any) have been repaired and that SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. Helpline: 800-745-7233, www.carseat.org the seat has all its parts and instructions. Find a Child Passenger Safety Inspection Location: 866-732-8243, • If the seat has been in a crash, it should not be used. www.seatcheck.org • Check for an expiration date. If there is none, avoid Other useful websites: American Academy of Pediatrics: www.healthychildren.org using a car seat over 6 to 8 years old. Most newer car The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: www.chop.edu/carseat seats are easier to use and have better safety features. FACT SHEET © 2012 Safe Ride News™ Publications, 800-403-1424 • www.saferidenews.com A4 Revised 1/12 Reproducible by SRN Fact Sheet purchasers only. For non-commercial distribution only.
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