This Sunday — September 18, 2016 — marks the beginning of National Child Passenger Safety Week. In fact, the entire month of September is Baby Safety Month. So now seems like an opportune time to take a moment to ponder two essential car devices that help keep kids safe.
Car Seat Safety
Step 1. Find the correct car seat.
In general, it boils down to choosing the appropriate one for the child’s size and age, and deciding if you want separate car seats and booster seats or a convertible car seat that you can continue to use as the child grows.
Step 2. Install the car seat properly.
The Parents Central section of safercar.gov has great detailed car seat installation instructions for each individual car seat type. See how to install car seats.
Step 3. Register your car seat.
Registering a new car seat helps the manufacturer contact you if there are any recalls or safety notices. Each car seat manufacturer has its own online registration form, but safercar.gov makes finding it easy. Find car seat registration link by manufacturer or brand.
If you’re really old-fashioned, you can also mail this child safety seat registration form to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Step 4. Subscribe to NHTSA recall notification emails.
You should absolutely still register your car seat through the manufacturer. As an added precaution, you can also receive emails about recalls for tires, child restraints, and vehicles.
Seat Belt Safety
Tween Seat Belt Safety
Children usually graduate from booster seats to seat belts between ages 8 and 12. For children to fit a seat belt properly, they need to be able to:
- Sit without slouching
- Keep their back against the seat
- Bend their knees over the seat’s edge
- Keep their feet flat on the floor
Teen Seat Belt Safety
Before your children are old enough to drive themselves, you are in charge and should always make sure they’re buckled before driving. But once they’re driving themselves or riding with teenage friends, it’s up to them.
One of the most important things you can do to encourage kids to wear seat belts is to wear seat belts yourself. Set the example from the start, and do what a parent does best — nag your kids. There’s no such thing as reminding them too often.
Pregnant Seat Belt Safety
It is Baby Safety Month after all, and that includes the buns that are still in the oven. Here are seat belt recommendations for expectant mothers.
So that’s the rundown on car seats and seat belts. If you have kids, Baby Safety Month (September) and National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 18–24, 2016) are the perfect time to refresh your own safety knowledge and remind your kids about the importance of vehicle safety. After all, car seats and safety belts go a long way in saving lives.
Stay safe out there. And if you have any personal car seat recommendations, share ‘em below!