Car Safety for Growing Babies and Toddlers From

Car Safety for Growing Babies and Toddlers From
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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