!Buckle Up Kids.qxd

!Buckle Up Kids.qxd
BUCKLE UP
KIDS!
A Guide for Choosing the Right
Child Safety Restraint and
Instructions for Correct Use.
Table of Contents
Section
Page
Section
Page
General Information and
Seat Placement
Selecting a safety seat ...........................1
Used safety seat checklist ......................2
General tips for installing safety seats ....3
Airbag warning......................................3
Harness fit .............................................4
Children in front seat .............................4
Retainer clip .......................................12
Locking clip ........................................19
Integrated (Built-in) Restraints –
1 to 4 Years or 4 to 8 Years.............12
Infant Restraints – Birth to 1 Year
General information...............................5
Positioning the seat ...............................5
Safety Belts – Over 8 Years
General information..............................16
Safety belt use......................................17
Tips ......................................................18
Convertible Restraint – Rear-Facing
Birth to 1 Year
General information...............................7
Positioning the seat ...............................8
Convertible Restraint –
Forward-Facing 1 to 4 Years
General information...............................9
Positioning the seat .............................10
Boosters – 4 to 8 Years
General information..............................13
Positioning the seat ..............................14
Belt-positioning booster........................14
Shield booster ......................................14
Specialty Restraints ........................15
Using the Locking Clip ....................19
Tethers and Top Anchorages ..........20
Universal Anchor Systems with
LATCH (Lower Anchor and Tethers
for CHildren)......................................21
Pick-up Trucks ...................................23
Forward-Facing Only Restraint –
1 to 4 Years
General information.............................11
Positioning the seat .............................11
Air Travel Tips for Child
Restraint Use.....................................24
Final Reminders ................................25
This booklet, developed by the Minnesota Child Passenger Safety Program, includes information
provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Printed with funds from
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA Minnesota/Iowa.
Motor Vehicle Crashes Are the
Leading Cause of Death and
Disability Among Children.
Children who are not properly buckled up may be
seriously hurt not only in crashes, but also from
sudden stops.
To keep children safe, EVERYBODY needs a safety belt
or safety seat.
The violent forces of a crash can cause anyone who rides loose to be
thrown out of the vehicle and seriously hurt. People riding without belts or
safety seats can also hurt others who are buckled up by being thrown
against them.
Seven out of 10 child safety seats are not used the
right way.
Vehicle seats and safety belts are built to fit adults, not children, which can
make it hard to properly buckle up. Buckling your child in the appropriate
restraint — the right way, can protect them during a crash or sudden stop.
This guide will help you learn how to choose the
proper restraint for your child and how to use it the
right way.
The best or safest restraint should fit the child’s size and weight, fit in your
vehicle tightly and be used the right way every time. All safety seats for
children under 50 pounds must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety
Standard 213 (FMVSS 213), a strict set of requirements including crash
testing. Ages stated are guidelines; always check manufacturer’s
instructions for weight limits.
US Department of Transportation
National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Traffic Safety
Minnesota Child Passenger Safety Program
When Choosing a Safety Seat, Remember:
When Choosing a Safety Seat,
Remember:
■ A seat that is easy to install and use will be
the best for you and your child. Find and
read the instruction manual.
■ Try locking and releasing the buckle in the
store. Try adjusting the harness. Be sure you
understand how to use it.
■ Try the seat in your vehicle. Some safety
seats fit in some vehicles better than others.
Choose the seat that can be held tightly
against the vehicle seat back. Read your
vehicle owner’s manual and the safety seat
instructions.
■ When you buy your safety seat, be sure to
register it with the manufacturer so that
you will be notified of any safety recalls. All
new safety seats come with a registration
card. If you have an older seat or purchase
a used seat, call the manufacturer to
register your seat.
■ Choose the seat that is the right size for
your child.
■ You’ll save a little money if you buy one
convertible seat to do the job from birth to
40 pounds, but an infant-only seat may be
easier for you to use and may fit your
newborn baby better.
■ Look for a convertible seat that has a
higher weight limit (30 pounds or more) in
the rear-facing position.
■ A safety seat that is more than 6 years old
should be replaced. Normal wear and tear
may cause the seat to not work as well as it
did when it was new. Also, newer seats
have improved safety designs.
■ Combination safety seats can also do double
duty. These seats include a harness system
with a set weight limit and can be converted
to a belt positioning booster seat.
WARNING!
A safety seat that was used in a vehicle during a crash should not be used again —
it should be destroyed. Regardless of how the seat looks or how old it is,
possible unseen damage may make the seat less effective in a second crash
and cause serious injury to a child.
1
Many parents feel a used safety seat is a good bargain or others may have trouble affording a
new seat. Some used safety seats may be perfectly safe, especially if they are fairly new and have
had only one owner. However, any used seat could have many problems and should be checked
carefully. If the seat has had more than one owner, it may be difficult to get accurate information.
Used Safety Seat Checklist
Used Safety Seat Checklist
Was the seat ever used in a vehicle during a crash?
NO - continue
YES - DISCARD the seat!
Does the seat have a label showing that it meets all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety
Standards?
YES - continue
NO - DISCARD the seat!
Does the seat have a label showing the date of manufacture?
YES - continue
NO - DISCARD the seat!
Is the seat 6 years old or less?
YES - continue
NO - DISCARD the seat!
Although some seats may be safe even when 6-10 years old, it is
recommended that seats not be used if they are over 6 years old. Normal
wear and tear may cause the seat to not work as well.
Is the shell cracked or the frame rusted?
NO - continue
YES - DISCARD the seat!
Is the seat missing any parts? Are straps frayed, clips bent or metal slides rusted?
NO - continue
YES - DISCARD the seat!
Has the seat been recalled for a safety defect? If unsure, contact the manufacturer.
NO - continue
YES - DISCARD the seat!
If the safety defect can be repaired, do so before using the seat.
If the safety defect cannot be repaired, discard the seat.
A used seat that receives a thumbs up for every question has a low risk of being unsafe.
2
Putting the Safety Seat in Your Vehicle the Right Way
Putting the Safety Seat in Your
Vehicle the Right Way
■ Check your vehicle owner’s manual for
instructions on air bags.
■ A child safety seat must be held tightly
against the vehicle seat back to protect a
child. If the safety belt is loose or the safety
seat slides around on the vehicle seat, your
child could be hurt.
■ Always read the instructions that come
with the safety seat and the owner’s
manual that comes with the vehicle. In the
owner’s manual turn to the section(s) on
safety belts and child safety seats (child
restraints or car seats).
■ Some older vehicle owner’s manuals have
little or no information on safety seats or the
owner’s manual may be missing. Contact the
vehicle manufacturer for more information.
■ Check for air bag warning labels on the sun
visor and/or on the front of the passenger
door frame.
■ Read labels on safety belts and safety seats.
WARNING!
An air bag comes out faster than a blink of an eye to protect a person’s head and
chest. Many lives have been saved by air bags. But, an air bag can hurt people who
are too close to it. Young children and babies can be seriously hurt or killed by the air
bag. Children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat. NEVER put a rearfacing baby (under 1 year old and under 20 pounds) in the front seat of a vehicle with
a passenger air bag. Babies (under 1 year old and under 20 pounds) must always ride
in the back seat facing the rear of the vehicle. Older children and adults in the front
seat must be careful too if there is an air bag — always buckle up the right way with
a lap and shoulder belt and move the seat all the way back. Keep away from the air
bag housing (center of steering wheel or dashboard) at all times. Avoid leaning
forward, leaning against the door, or placing objects near any air bag housing.
3
The harness and the safety belt hold your child in the seat to remain protected in a crash. It is
important that the harness is snug on the strong parts of the child’s body. If the harness is loose,
your child could be ejected in a crash. The harness must lie flat on the child to safely spread the
forces of a crash; do not allow the straps to become twisted. Always read the instructions that
come with the safety seat.
Children in the Front Seat
■ When possible, it is best for children under age 13 to ride in the rear seat; most crashes
occur in the front of the vehicle.
■ Make sure the child is correctly buckled up with the vehicle seat moved all the way back.
Make sure the child is being held back snugly by the harness straps of the safety seat or by
both the lap and shoulder belt. Use a belt-positioning booster to ensure proper belt fit if
necessary. Do not allow the child to slip out of the shoulder belt or lean toward the
dashboard. Read the vehicle owner’s manual about air bags.
Putting the Safety Seat in Your Vehicle the Right Way
Proper Harness Fit
■ NEVER put a rear-facing baby in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
Babies (under 1 year old and under 20 pounds) should ride in the back seat facing the
rear of the vehicle.
NO!
NO!
Improperly restrained and unrestrained occupants can be severely injured by a deploying airbag.
NO!
NO!
NO!
4
Infant Restraints (Birth - 1 Year)
Infant Restraints (Birth - 1 Year)
Infant-only safety seat
Spaces filled with cloths
■ Rear-facing only.
■ Some have detachable bases.
■ Usually fits a newborn well and some may
be the best fit for premature infants.
■ Long babies may outgrow this seat before
they reach the upper weight limit
(17-22 pounds).
Rolled towel for angle
■ Use only until baby’s head comes within
1 inch of the top of the shell; then move to
the convertible seat, rear-facing until at
least 1 year of age and 20 pounds.
■ Make sure the infant safety seat is
approved for use in a motor vehicle. Check
the labels and instructions.
Positioning the Safety Seat
■ Place the safety seat in the vehicle so that
its base is resting flat on the vehicle seat
cushion. If this is not possible, try another
seating position or find a safety seat that
fits better.
■ Babies under one year and under
20 pounds should face the rear of the
vehicle in a safety seat that is designed for
their height and weight. Babies must ride
facing the rear, even when they are out of
the driver’s view in the back seat. Parents
should feel just as comfortable in this
situation as they do when they put their
babies down for a nap and leave the room.
If the baby has special health needs that
5
require full-time monitoring, ask another
adult to ride with the baby in the back seat
and travel alone as little as possible.
■ Be sure the rear-facing safety seat is reclined
(30 to 45 degree angle) to keep infant’s head
from falling forward. A tightly rolled towel or
foam swimming noodle cut to fit the width of
the base of the safety seat may be used to
maintain angle, but be careful not to tip the
seat too far back (see top right photo).
■ Make sure the infant safety seat you use is
approved for use in a motor vehicle. Check
the labels and instructions.
■ Straps should be at or below baby’s
shoulders.
■ Be sure the straps are threaded through the
shell not just the pad. Check the instructions.
■ The harness must fit snugly on the baby’s
shoulders and buckle between the legs. A
snug harness is important, it holds the
baby down in the safety seat during a
crash. The harness is tight when no fabric
can be pinched.
■ Dress the baby in clothes that keep the legs
free. If you want to cover the baby, buckle
the harness first, adjust it for a snug fit,
then put a blanket over the baby. Avoid
using bulky snowsuits or buntings, this can
make it hard to adjust the harness snugly.
■ ALWAYS keep the handle on an infant
safety seat in the down position when the
seat is in the vehicle. The child could
hurt its head by striking the handle
in a crash.
Infant Restraints (Birth - 1 Year)
Rear-Facing Seat
■ A new baby needs support. To fill empty
spaces and give support, roll up a couple of
small blankets and tuck them in on each
side of your baby’s body and head. If the
baby still slumps down, put a rolled diaper
between the legs behind the crotch strap.
NEVER put padding behind or under
the baby (see middle photo on page 5).
■ Make sure the harness will stay snug. Check
if there is a metal slide in back of the seat
which must be locked by threading the
strap back through (see photos at right).
■ The plastic harness retainer clip keeps the
straps on baby’s shoulders. Make sure the
clip is threaded correctly to keep the strap
from sliding off. Place the clip at mid-chest,
armpit level (see photo on page 12).
6
Convertible Restraints — Rear-Facing (Birth - 1 Year)
Convertible Restraints —
Rear-Facing (Birth - 1 Year)
Can face rearward and forward. Use rear-facing up to 35 pounds (varies by
manufacturer, check the instructions).
There are three types — a five-point harness and two types of shields.
Five-point
harness
Two shoulder two
hip and one crotch
strap. Many safety
experts prefer
this system,
because the straps
can be adjusted to
fit snugly across the
child’s strong
hipbones. Straps may twist and tangle — keep
straps flat for best protection.
Tray-shield
Shoulder straps
attach to a wide,
padded shield that
swings up. Some
shields may not fit
over the child’s head
unless straps are
adjusted each time.
May be hard to get a
snug fit on the
child’s hips. In some cars, the roof may be too low
so the shield cannot be lifted all the way.
T-shield
Shoulder straps
attach to a flat pad.
The shield helps
keep straps flat, and
can be buckled with
one hand. It may be
hard to get a snug fit
on the child’s hips.
Unacceptable fit of
a T-shield harness
NO!
Tray-shields and T-shields are not recommended
for infants. The shield comes up too high and may
make proper harness fit impossible.
7
■ Place the safety seat in the vehicle so that
its base is resting flat on the vehicle seat
cushion. If this is not possible, try another
seating position or find a safety seat that
fits better. At least 80 percent of the safety
seat base must contact the vehicle seat.
■ Babies under 1 year and under 20 pounds
must face the rear of the vehicle in a safety
seat that is designed for their height and
weight. Babies must ride facing the rear,
even when they are out of the driver’s view
in the back seat. Parents should feel just as
comfortable in this situation as they do
when they put their babies down for a nap
and leave the room. If the baby has special
health needs that require full-time
monitoring, ask another adult to ride with
the baby in the back seat and travel alone
as little as possible.
■ Be sure the rear-facing safety seat is reclined
(30 to 45 degree angle) to keep infant’s
head from falling forward. A tightly rolled
towel or foam swimming noodle cut to fit
the width of the base of the seat, may be
used to maintain angle, but be careful not to
tip the seat too far back (see top right photo
on page 5).
■ Use the convertible safety seat rear-facing
until the child is 1 year of age and 20 lbs.
or more. The child can continue to face rear
until she/he reaches the upper weight limit.
A child seat with a higher rear-facing
weight limit allows you to keep baby rearfacing longer, which is the safest position.
Convertible Restraints — Rear-Facing (Birth - 1 Year)
Positioning the Safety Seat
Rear-Facing Seat
■ Make sure the convertible safety seat you
use is approved for use in a motor vehicle.
Check the labels and instructions.
■ Use the lowest harness strap slots that are
at or below baby’s shoulders.
■ Be sure the straps are threaded through the
shell not just the pad. Check the instructions.
■ The harness must fit snugly on the baby’s
shoulders and buckle between the legs. A
snug harness is important, it holds the baby
down in the safety seat during a crash. The
harness is tight when no excess fabric can
be pinched.
■ Dress the baby in clothes that keep the legs
free. If you want to cover the baby, buckle
the harness first, adjust it for a snug fit, then
put a blanket over the baby. Avoid using
bulky snowsuits or buntings, this can make it
hard to adjust the harness snugly.
■ Make sure the harness will stay snug.
Check if there is a metal slide in back of the
seat which must be locked by threading the
strap back through (see photo on page 6).
■ The plastic harness retainer clip keeps the
straps on baby’s shoulders. Make sure the
clip is threaded correctly to keep the strap
from sliding off. Place the clip at mid-chest,
armpit level (see photo on page 12).
■ A new baby needs support. To fill empty
spaces and give support, roll up a couple of
small blankets and tuck them in on each
side of your baby’s body and head. If the
baby still slumps down, put a rolled diaper
between the legs behind the crotch strap.
NEVER put padding behind or under
the baby (see middle photo on page 5).
8
Convertible Restraints — Forward-Facing (1 - 4 Years)
Convertible Restraints —
Forward-Facing (1 - 4 Years)
There are three types — a five-point harness and two types of shields.
Five-point harness
Two shoulder two hip and one crotch strap.
Many safety experts prefer this
system, because the straps can be adjusted
to fit snugly across the child’s strong
hipbones. Straps may twist and tangle —
keep straps flat for best protection.
T-shield
Shoulder straps attach to a flat pad. The
shield helps keep straps flat, and can be
buckled with one hand. It may be hard to get
a snug fit on the child’s hips.
Tray-shield
Shoulder straps attach to a wide, padded
shield that swings up. Some shields may not
fit over the child’s head unless straps are
adjusted each time. May be hard to get a
snug fit on the child’s hips. In some cars, the
roof may be too low so the shield can’t be
lifted all the way.
9
Forward-Facing (1 - 4 Years)
■ Use facing forward for children over 1 year
and 20 pounds or more.
■ Use until child outgrows it (when the top of
the ears reach top of the seat, when
shoulders are above the top slots, or when
child reaches the upper weight/height limit)
then move to the booster seat.
■ Seats are sold with a tether strap to anchor
the top of the seat to the vehicle. A tether
strap keeps the seat more tightly secured.
For tether anchor installation, contact your
vehicle dealer (see page 20 for more
information about tethers).
■ Place seat in the upright position so the
child is sitting up straight, not reclined. The
more upright position is preferred for safety.
■ If changing from rear-facing to forwardfacing, harness straps must now be
threaded at or above child’s shoulders.
■ Typically, only the top harness strap slots on
front-facing convertible seats are reinforced.
The top slots are reinforced to prevent the
harness from breaking through in a crash.
Always check the child seat instructions for
additional reinforced slots.
■ The harness must fit snugly on the child’s
shoulders and buckle between the legs. A
snug harness is important because it keeps
the child in the safety seat during a crash.
Convertible Restraints — Forward-Facing (1 - 4 Years)
Convertible Restraints —
■ Check harness tightness on every ride. A
harness is snug when no excess fabric can
be pinched.
■ Make sure the harness will stay snug. Be
sure the straps are threaded correctly
through the shell not just the pad. Check
the instructions.
■ The plastic harness retainer clip keeps the
straps on the child’s shoulders. Make sure
the clip is threaded correctly to keep the
strap from sliding off. Put the clip at midchest, armpit level (see photos on page 12).
■ If possible, adjust hip straps or shield to stay
low on the hips.
10
Forward-Facing Only Restraints (1 - 4 years)
Forward-Facing Only Restraints
(1 - 4 Years)
secured and reduces forward head
movement in a crash. For tether anchor
installation, contact your vehicle dealer (see
page 20 for more information about tethers).
■ Some forward facing restraints are a vest
with shoulder, hip and crotch straps. The
vehicle lap belt goes through the back of
the vest. Some use a tether strap.
■ Some models can be converted to a beltpositioning booster by removing the
harness for the larger child over 40 pounds.
This car seat converts to a booster by removing
the harness and rerouting the safety belt.
■ Forward-facing only seats provide full
harness for upper body and head restraint.
■ Not recommended for under age 1 and
under 20 pounds.
■ Use until child outgrows it (when the top
of the ears reach top of the seat, when
shoulders are above the top slots, or
when child reaches the upper weight
limit, check the instructions); then move
to the booster seat.
■ Beginning Sept. 1, 1999, forward-facing
restraints must meet a stricter test for head
excursion. Most manufacturers are expected
to meet the new requirement through the
use of a tether. The tether is attached to the
top of the seat and anchored to the vehicle.
A tether strap keeps the seat more tightly
11
■ Harness strap slots should be at or above
the child’s shoulders on forward-facing
only seats.
■ The harness must fit snugly on the child’s
shoulders and buckle between the legs. A
snug harness is important because it keeps
the child in the safety seat during a crash.
■ Check harness tightness on every ride. A
harness is snug when no extra fabric can
be pinched.
■ Be sure the harness straps are threaded
correctly through the shell and not just the
pad. Check the safety seat instructions.
■ The plastic harness retainer clip keeps the
straps on the child’s shoulders. Make sure
the clip is threaded correctly to keep the
strap from sliding off. Put the clip at midchest, armpit level (see photos on page 12).
■ If possible, adjust hip straps or shield to
stay low on the hips.
(1 - 4 or 4 - 8 Years)
■ Forward-facing only; some convert to a beltpositioning booster, others have a 5-point
harness that can be used up to 60 lbs.
(Check the vehicle manual)
■ Integrated seats provide good protection
because they are anchored directly to the
vehicle. However, they cannot be moved
from one vehicle to another.
Integrated (Built-in) Restraints (1 - 4 or 4 - 8 Years)
Integrated (Built-in) Restraints
Correct Use of the Retainer Clip
■ The plastic harness retainer clip keeps the
straps on baby’s shoulders. Make sure the
clip is threaded correctly to keep the strap
from sliding off. Put the clip at mid-chest,
armpit level.
NO!
12
Why Use a Booster Seat with a Safety Belt?
Why Use a Booster Seat with a
Safety Belt?
This five-year-old rides
in a belt-positioning
booster with a high
back using the lap AND
shoulder belt.
A booster seat
makes an adult
safety belt fit
correctly on a child’s body. The booster’s
design helps keep the lap belt low on the
hips and the shoulder belt across the chest.
Boosters are specially designed and crashtested. Do not use pillows or books because
they can cause serious injury in a crash.
■ Most children under 8 years are not big
enough to fit the adult safety belt properly.
A belt that rides up on the tummy can
cause serious injury. A belt that is put under
the arm or behind the back can also cause
serious injury.
■ Many young children do not sit still enough
or straight enough to keep lap belts low
across their hips.
■ Boosters are comfortable for children
because the raised base gives the child a
better view and allows their legs to bend
normally. This also reduces slouching, which
leads to poor lap belt fit.
4 - 8 Years Old
■ Use a booster seat until the child reaches the
upper weight limit or the child can sit
comfortably without slouching on the vehicle
seat. The lap belt should stay low on the hips
and the shoulder belt should comfortably
cross the chest and shoulder. Most children
do not fit the adult belt until ages 8 to 10,
with a minimum height of 4 feet 9 inches.
■ Make sure the booster you use is approved
for use in a motor vehicle, and check the
labels and instructions. Booster seats
designed for use at the dining table do not
keep kids safe in a crash.
■ If the child’s ears come above the top of the
vehicle seat back, use a high-back booster.
A lap and shoulder belt must be used.
■ If the booster seat comes with a clip or
strap to hold the shoulder belt in place,
make sure to thread it correctly.
WARNING!
Products or devices sold in catalogs and stores that say they will improve safety belt fit for
older children and adults are not required to pass any government safety standards. Using these
“after-market” products could be dangerous. Some have been shown to reduce the
effectiveness of lap/shoulder belts in crash tests. These products might make the shoulder belt
fit more comfortably but may allow too much slack in the shoulder belt. These products may
also cause the lap belt to ride up on the soft tummy, which can cause serious internal injury.
Approved booster seats are a better way to make a safety belt fit a small child.
13
For children who have outgrown a safety seat with a harness.
There are two types of belt-positioning boosters — high-back and no-back.
High-back Booster
with Harness
High-back Booster
Why Use a Booster Seat with a Safety Belt?
Booster Seats (4 - 8 Years Old)
No-back Booster
Belt-Positioning Boosters
■ Use ONLY with a lap/shoulder belt; cannot
be used with the lap belt alone.
■ A high-back booster with a harness can be
converted to the booster by removing the
harness system and rerouting the safety belt.
■ Makes the vehicle lap/shoulder belt fit well.
■ Some have a clip or strap to hold the
shoulder belt in place.
■ High backs provide head support for taller
children.
■ Some have no back and can be used if the
vehicle seat has a head restraint that the
child can utilize.
■ Children who outgrow their safety seat with
shoulder straps before age 4 may not be
mature enough to stay seated properly in a
belt-positioning booster. A vest or harness
that uses the belt system and a tether strap
would be an option in this situation.
■ If only lap belts are available in your vehicle,
adding a manufacturer provided shoulder
belt (retrofit) or using a vest or harness that
uses the lap belt system and a tether strap
would be better in this situation. Contact the
vehicle manufacturer regarding installation
of a tether anchor.
Shield Boosters
■ Shield boosters are for use when only lap
belts are available in all rear-seating
positions AND only when children are
between 30 and 40 pounds.
■ Some have a removable shield. If the shield
can be removed, use the booster with a lap/
shoulder belt and a vehicle head restraint
(check the safety seat instructions).
14
Specialty Restraints & Safety Belts (Over 8 Years)
Specialty Restraints
Children with special health care needs should
have access to proper resources for safe
transportation. Standard child restraints may
be used if compatible with the child’s needs. If
a standard restraint is not workable, several
options are available. It is possible that
insurance will cover the costs of specialty
restraints. Contact your insurance carrier for
specific information. For a listing of special
needs products contact:
American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Blvd.
P. O. Box 927
Elk Grove Village, IL 60009-0927
www.aap.org
■ Vests and harnesses for children and adults
are designed for use with the vehicle belt
system and a tether strap. Tethers provide
additional upper body protection.
The Gorilla specialty seat by Snug Seat
■ Several restraints have been designed for
children with special health or physical
needs and have upper weight limits of 100
or more pounds.
■ Many of these devices require additional
hardware.
■ Car beds for low birth weight and/or
medically fragile infants are available for
infants who must lie flat. Ask your baby’s
doctor about testing for breathing problems
before discharge.
Many specialty restraints are voluntarily
tested but are not required to meet any
federal safety standard.
15
Angel Ride car bed
Use when the child can sit comfortably without slouching.
Use the following guide to determine safety belt readiness.
Six Steps to Seat Belt Safety
1: Does your child sit with their back against the vehicle seat back?
2: Does your child’s knee bend comfortably around the vehicle seat edge?
3: Do your child’s feet touch the floor?
4: Does the safety belt rest on the shoulder (not on the face or upper arm)?
5: Does the lap portion of the belt stay low on the hips?
6: Can your child ride comfortably in this position for the whole trip?
If you answer “NO” to any of these questions, your child
needs a booster seat with the lap/shoulder safety belt.
Specialty Restraints & Safety Belts (Over 8 Years)
Safety Belts (Over 8 Years)
This 11-year-old rides using the safety belt.
■ If no shoulder belt is available, keep the lap
belt low and snug across the hips or thighs.
If the lap belt rides up onto the tummy, it
could cause serious injury in a crash. Also,
check with the vehicle manufacturer for a
safety belt retrofit. However, it is much
safer for anyone (except small babies who
cannot sit up) to use just a lap belt than to
ride completely unrestrained.
■ If the shoulder belt rubs against the side of
the neck, it is uncomfortable for the child
but not harmful. Try using a soft folded cloth
over the belt.
■ If the shoulder belt stays loose when it is
pulled out, teach your child how to take up
the slack by pulling on the shoulder belt to
reset it. Too much slack can cause injuries in
a crash.
■ If the shoulder belt fits so badly that it
goes across the neck or face, have the child
use a belt-positioning booster. If a beltpositioning booster is not available or the
child is too heavy, a lap belt in the rear
seat could work better.
■ Never use pillows or books to raise a child
to fit the belt. Using these will not keep the
belt in the right place in a crash and could
cause serious injury to a child.
■ Never put a shoulder belt under the child’s
arm or behind the child’s back. Doing this
could cause serious internal injury in a
crash. The lap belt of a lap and shoulder
belt is not designed to work alone.
Children who have outgrown safety seats are
better protected by lap/shoulder belts than by
lap belts alone. If several children are riding in
the back, and there are shoulder belts, let the
older ones use the shoulder belts. Put the child
riding in the safety seat in the middle where
there is only a lap belt.
16
Using the Safety Belt
Using the Safety Belt
Most safety belts use a retractor to take up the slack. There are three types.
Emergency locking retractor
(ELR) — Will lock only in a crash or sudden
stop. It cannot hold a child safety seat on its
own. Check the label on the belt or the vehicle
owner’s manual for further instructions. Also,
see page 19 for information about locking clips.
Automatic locking retractor
(ALR) — Will lock whenever you stop
pulling it out. It can hold a safety seat tightly;
take the slack out by pushing the webbing
back into the retractor.
■ Lap belt with a locking latch plate — Usually
found in the center rear seat. A locking bar
keeps the lap belt from loosening.
17
Switchable — Works well with safety
seats. It is an emergency locking retractor that
switches to an automatic locking retractor
when belt is completely pulled out and
allowed to retract back in. Check the label on
the belt or the vehicle owner’s manual on how
to use this type.
There are several types of safety belt systems.
Some may not stay tight and will need special
hardware.
If the latch plate rests on the safety seat at the
wrong spot the safety belt may still loosen. DO
NOT use a locking clip to fix this problem. To
keep the belt from loosening in this situation:
buckle and tighten the belt, unbuckle the belt
and turn the latch plate over once so that the
locking bar faces up and then rebuckle it
(check the vehicle owner’s manual to be sure
this is correct).
Using the Safety Belt
Using the Safety Belt
■ Belts that do not lock (ELR), belts that come out forward of the seat back, belts in the door,
and belts on a track require special attention. Some may need a special part from the dealer,
others may require a tether strap (see page 20 for more information about tethers). Check the
vehicle owner’s manual and safety seat instructions.
■ Put the safety belt through the correct belt
path (where the belt goes through the seat)
and buckle the belt. Belt paths are different
depending on whether the seat is facing
the rear or forward and whether an infantonly seat base is being used. Check labels
and read the safety seat instructions.
■ Push down on the safety seat with your full
weight while you tighten the safety belt.
With a baby in a seat, push down with one
hand between the baby’s legs or on the side
of the seat. Pull the safety belt very tight.
■ To check if it is tight enough, grasp the
seat on both sides, at the belt path.
Pull the safety seat forward and pull it it
from side to side. It is safe for the rear-facing
safety seat to tip slightly toward the back of
the vehicle seat. If the belt loosens or the
safety seat slides more than an inch, be sure
you have locked the seat belt. Reinstall the
seat or move the seat to a different seating
position. You may need to try a different
safety seat. Remember, using the top tether
increases stability and improves installation.
18
Using the Locking Clip
Using the Locking Clip
■ Lap and shoulder belt with a free-sliding latch plate has one piece of belt webbing that slides
through the latch plate. If the free-sliding latch plate is on an ELR belt a locking clip is needed.
■ Check the vehicle owner’s manual and the safety seat instructions for how to use the metal
locking clip. Always use the locking clip next to the latch plate.
19
A tether is a strap attachment system that
connects the top of a safety seat to an anchor
in the vehicle’s metal structure. Tethers are
used in addition to the vehicle safety belt or
the lower anchorage. Check the vehicle
owner’s manual for installation instructions.
Beginning September 1, 1999, all forwardfacing child restraints are required to meet
stricter head protection requirements. The top
tether strap adds stability, reduces forward
head movement and helps to secure a child
restraint more tightly. Most child restraint
manufacturers will be meeting the current
standard through the use of a tether. Tethers
will be included when the convertible or
forward facing child restraint is purchased.
Also beginning September 1, 1999, all model
year 2000 passenger cars, except convertibles,
must provide user-ready, factory-installed
tether anchors. By September 2000, light
trucks, vans and sports utility vehicles are
required to provide tether anchors. Tether
anchors that are preinstalled make it easier
for parents and caregivers to make use of
tethers immediately. Additionally, older child
restraints that did not initially come with a
tether may be retrofitted for a tether
attachment. Contact the child restraint
manufacturer for answers on tether options.
Tethers and Top Anchors
Tethers and Top Anchors
■ When tethering the safety seat to the
vehicle, be certain to use the tether anchor
point, not a cargo tie-down anchor. Consult
the vehicle owner’s manual to verify correct
tether anchor point locations.
■ Installation of tether anchor kits can be
done by the owner, vehicle manufacturer or
local mechanic. Newer vehicles may have
factory-installed tether anchor brackets and
will not need kits.
■ Designated anchor points take many forms.
Consult the vehicle manual in the child
restraint section under “top strap” or
“tether strap.” Tether anchor locations can
also be found in safety equipment diagrams
through the local dealership parts
department.
An anchor option for tether hook
20
Universal Anchor Systems with LATCH
Universal Anchor Systems with
LATCH
(Lower Anchor and Tethers for CHildren)
Phase in for the child restraint lower anchors and top
tether anchors will begin in vehicle model year 2001, and
continue for two years. At least two rear-seating positions
in each vehicle will be equipped with the system. In
addition, a third rear-seating position will have an upper
tether anchorage to hold the child seat tightly. The child
restraint anchorage system is standardized and
independent of the vehicle seat belts. The ability to
bypass the belt system and install the restraint using
lower anchors and a tether, means an alternate choice
the parent may make to install a child restraint system.
Flexible LATCH hook using anchor bar
The anchor system consists of three points of
attachment.
■ Two small bars (lower anchors) behind the seat bight
(where the vehicle seat cushion meets the vehicle
back) to which two special hooks on the lower frame
of the child restraint are attached. The hooks may be
on straps (flexible) or part of the child restraint frame
(rigid).
■ One tether anchor behind the seating position to which
a tether strap from the top of the child restraint is
hooked. This will appear as a ring-like object,
permanently attached to the vehicle at the top of the
rear seat.
Lower anchor bars
Beginning September 2002, child restraint manufacturers
must produce child safety restraints that are LATCH
compatible. Parents may choose to install the child restraint
with either a seat belt or the new LATCH system if
available in the vehicle.
Child safety restraints purchased before September
2002 may have a LATCH retrofit kit available from the
car seat manufacturer. Belt positioning booster seats,
vests, and car beds are exempt from LATCH
requirements.
21
Tether anchor logo
LATCH Installation
■ LATCH is not required for booster seats,
car beds or vests.
■ Always read and follow both the vehicle
owner’s manual and child safety seat
manufacturer’s instructions for correct
installation and proper use.
■ Most LATCH-equipped vehicles have
anchors in the right and left rear seat
positions. If the center seat does not
have anchors, you can still install your
child safety seat using a safety belt.
■ If your vehicle is not LATCH-equipped,
use the safety belt and, if available, a top
tether.
■ LATCH anchor bars are required to be a
specific distance apart, which may lead
to a rear center seating position in the
vehicle that does not have LATCH
anchors. You may not use the two
inboard lower anchors (of the outboard
LATCH seating positions) to install a
child seat in the rear center seating
position. The only exception is if BOTH
the vehicle and child seat manufacturers
specifically state that this installation is
acceptable. It is safe and acceptable to
install a car seat using the standard
safety belt in the rear center seating
position.
Universal Anchor Systems with LATCH
LATCH Facts
■ Locate the lower LATCH attachments on
the child safety seat.
■ Locate the lower LATCH anchor bars in
or near vehicle seat crack.
■ Hook the LATCH attachments to the
vehicle anchor bars.
■ Use your body weight in the child safety
seat by kneeling in the seat, then pull
excess webbing to tighten flexible LATCH
attachments.
■ Check for secure fit by testing for
tightness at the base of the seat, near
the LATCH attachments. The child safety
seat should not move more than 1 inch
side-to-side or forward.
■ Attach the tether to a tether anchor (if
applicable). Pull excess webbing and
tighten tether strap.
22
Special Considerations for Pick-up Trucks
Special Considerations for
Pick-up Trucks
■ Pick-up trucks with passenger air bags and
no ‘shut-off’ switch and no back seat
cannot safely transport babies under 1 year
of age and under 20 pounds. Babies this
age must ride rear-facing and always in the
back seat; the front may only be used if
there is no danger from an airbag.
■ If there is an air bag ‘shut-off’ switch, read
the pick-up truck owner’s manual for
instructions.
■ Extended cab pick-ups with side-facing
jump seats are NOT appropriate to transport
children, or adults for that matter. Safety
belts do not provide good protection in
these seats. Safety seats cannot be installed
in these seats.
■ Extended cab pick-ups with rear bench
seats may be appropriate. Make sure at
least 80 percent of the base of the safety
seat fits on the vehicle seat. Make sure the
rear-facing seat will fit when reclined for a
30 to 45 degree angle.
■ Even when a forward-facing safety seat is
installed tightly with the safety belt, a
child’s head could hit the front seat in a
crash. A tether strap is recommended (see
page 20 for more information about
tethers). Check the safety seat instructions
and vehicle owner’s manual.
■ Never allow anyone to ride in the cargo bed
of a pick-up truck. Ejection can cause
serious injury or death and a canopy does
not guarantee safety. In fact, covered cargo
beds can trap poisonous carbon monoxide
fumes, which can be deadly.
■ Front seat occupants of compact extended
cab pick-up trucks are at a lesser risk for
injury than occupants using rear seats.
23
Safety Seats
Proper use of an approved child restraint system (CRS) on an aircraft enhances child safety in the
event of turbulence or a crash. In addition to protecting your child during flight, there is also the
added benefit of having a child seat on hand when traveling by motor vehicle away from home.
An added note of precaution: research the child restraint laws for the state or country in which
you will be traveling. Laws may vary.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommends that all children who fly,
regardless of age, use the appropriate restraint based on their size and weight. Before you fly:
■ Ensure that your CRS has received FAA
approval. Check for a label reading, “This
restraint is certified for use in motor
vehicles and aircraft.”
■ Check the width of your CRS. While airline
seats vary in width, a CRS no wider than
16 inches should fit in most coach seats. Even
if the armrests are moved out of the way, a
CRS wider than 16 inches is unlikely to fit
properly into the frame of the aircraft seat.
■ Ask the airline if they offer a discounted fare
for a child traveling in a CRS. Purchasing an
airline ticket (discounted or full fare) for your
child is the only way to guarantee that you
will be able to use a CRS.
■ Check with the airline to determine their
busiest days and times. By avoiding these
times, you are more likely to be on a flight
with an empty seat next to you. In many
cases, airlines will allow you to seat your
child under 2 years of age in your CRS in
the empty airplane seat without having to
pay the airline fare for the child. Be sure to
ask your airline for its policy regarding an
empty seat.
■ If you purchase a ticket for your child,
reserve adjoining seats. A CRS must be
placed in a window seat so it will not block
the escape path in an emergency. A CRS
may not be placed in an exit row.
Tips for Safe Air Travel and Child Safety Seats
Tips for Safe Air Travel and Child
■ If you need to change planes to make a
connecting flight, it can be very challenging
to transport a CRS, child and luggage
through a busy airport. Most airlines will
help parents make the connection if they
can arrange for assistance in advance.
■ Children under 20 pounds and under 1 year
of age should be placed in a rear-facing CRS.
■ Children 20 to 40 pounds and over 1 year
of age use a forward-facing restraint.
Current restraints offer dramatic
improvement in protection compared to
lap-held or unrestrained children.
■ Booster seats and harness vests are banned
for use on aircraft. These devices may be
checked as baggage.
■ In the United States, supplemental lap
restraints are banned from use in aircraft.
■ Arrive early for departure and request ample
pre-boarding time to install the CRS properly.
24
Final Reminders
Be Sure Your Child Rides Safely
Every Time, Remember...
■ Everybody needs a safety belt or safety
seat every time you travel — even on
short trips!
■ Children ages 4 to 8, under 4 feet
9 inches tall, 40 - 80 pounds, should
always ride in a booster seat.
■ The back seat usually is safer than the
front, because head-on crashes are the
most common type of crash.
■ If the vehicle has a front passenger air
bag, NEVER put a rear facing baby in
the front seat. Children under age 13
should ride in back.
■ Babies under 1 year old and under
20 pounds must ride facing the rear,
even when they are out of the driver’s
view in the back seat.
■ Always use a safety seat that is the
right size for your child.
■ Read and follow the instructions in the
safety seat manufacturer’s directions
and the vehicle owner’s manual.
■ Always make sure the safety seat is
held tightly by the vehicle safety belt.
■ Always make sure the safety seat
harness is snug on the child and
buckled into the crotch strap.
■ There must be one safety belt for each
person. Two people with one belt
around them could hurt each other.
25
■ NEVER hold a child on your lap
because you could crush the child in a
crash even if the safety belt is around
both of you. If only you are using a
safety belt, the child would be torn
from your arms in a crash.
■ The cargo area of a station wagon,
hatchback, van or pick-up is a very
dangerous place for anyone to ride.
■ On long trips, plan to stop in a safe
place (rest stop or a gas station) and
let everyone out to stretch. Never
unbuckle when the car is moving or
stopped on the road.
■ Bring small soft toys, books and snacks
to keep children happy in the vehicle.
■ Never hang toys from the safety seat
handle or secure them to a shield. The
handle should be in the down position
when traveling. Toy accessories that
attach to the back of the seat for
baby’s amusement are not
recommended.
■ Never put anything in the back window
of your vehicle. Secure items in the
cargo area of a station wagon or
hatchback. Loose objects, such as large
toys, or other heavy things in the
vehicle can be thrown around in a
crash and hurt someone. Secure all
loose objects in the cargo area.
Final Reminders
www.buckleupkids.state.mn.us
The Minnesota Child Passenger Safety Program Web site has valuable
information designed to address many questions. Please visit the site
online at www.buckleupkids.state.mn.us regarding:
■
Car seat inspection clinics
■
Car seat distribution programs
■
Car seat recall list
■
Minnesota car seat law
■
Resource materials
■
Training information
■
Related links
26
Notes
27
Notes:
AAA wants your
child to be…
For more than a century, AAA has worked to foster a safe environment for travelers
through education, research and advocacy.
Visit www.aaapublicaffairs.com for more information on child passenger safety
and other AAA programs, or call (952) 707-4623 in the Twin Cities metro area,
and toll-free 1-800-222-1333 in Greater Minnesota.
AAA programs and activities that support children and teens include:
School Safety Patrol Program
Centennial Grant Program for Schools
Traffic Safety Education Materials
Driver’s Education Publications and Materials
It Pays to Belong!
AAA has been serving motorists and the traveling public since 1902.
For information on AAA member benefits and services, including travel,
insurance, roadside assistance and financial services,
call 1-800-222-1333 or visit www.aaa.com.
For more information about child passenger safety, contact:
The National Auto Safety Hotline
800-424-9393
BUCKLE UP
KIDS!
To order additional brochures or learn more about the
Minnesota Child Passenger Safety Program, contact:
800-818-9296
www.buckleupkids.state.mn.us
Pl 6515 2/03
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