Child Passenger Safety

Child passenger safety pertains to the safe transport by the parents and guardians of their child or of children. In the US, the NHTSA rules on Child Restraint System comprehensively discusses the coverage of the law. The system also includes the correct use and installation of car seats, booster seats and seat belts to buckle up or secure a child within the vehicle and provide them with the necessary protection especially during a collision or a car crash.

Child safety fact sheet

Car owners and vehicle drivers must always keep in mind since statistics revealed that the leading cause of death amongst children aged 3 to 14 are motor vehicle crashes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in its Child Passenger Safety Fact Sheet  that in 2010 there were more than a thousand of children passengers aged 14 and below who were killed in car crashes while approximately 170,000 were injured.

Proper selection, installation and use of child safety seats

The selection of a reliable car seat for children can be based on car seat recommendations which are a part of child passenger safety awareness. You can refer to car seat ratings when deciding to buy a safe seat for your little one.

  • A car seat should be selected based on the age and size of your child and should fit in your vehicle.
  • Make sure you test the safety seat before buying. Fit in your child to the seat and into the car to be sure your child does not fall or topple down from the seat when the car starts to move.
  • The car seat must always be used when a child is on board.

The correct installation of a car seat can be done by first reading the car seat manufacturer’s instructions. A vehicle owner’s manual can help him install the car seat using the seat belt or the latch system. Height and weight limits should also be carefully considered.

Seventy one percent (71%) of the kids that died during vehicle crashes were found to be completely unprotected. Thus, the proper use of child safety seats is a very effective way of reducing the risk of death.

  • Make sure you buckle up your seat belt. Be your child’s example in buckling up. No matter how short the trip will be, always use your seat belts.
  • Keep your child in the car seat for as long as needed to maximize the safety of your child while the vehicle is moving.
  • Make sure that your child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements to ensure safety.

Your child must continue using the backseat until the age of 12. Based on the primary Pennsylvania Child Passenger Safety Law children aged four to eight must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat. Children ages 8 to 18 must always be in a seat belt.

Children 8 to 12 years must be kept in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in the seat belt properly. The lap belt of the seat belt must lie fitted across the upper thighs of the child and not to the stomach for the seat belt to be properly used. The shoulder belt of the seat belt must be fitted properly across the shoulder and the chest without crossing the neck or face to also ensure the proper use of the seat belt with the booster seat.

It is always the job of adults or parents to be responsible in keeping their children protected and safe when riding in a car. Double check always if the child safety seat is properly positioned and if he is securely and correctly buckled up from the time when he is too young to do this until the time he can already climb into the vehicle by himself.

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