Infants and toddlers need restraining devices while traveling in a vehicle, especially for all children ages 8 and younger. Unfortunately, not many parents understand how to use a car seat or booster, which means children remain at risk of incurring serious injury and even death during an accident. As a result, many governmental, state, and local agencies have responded by implementing laws against improper car seat installation. In addition, many non-profit associations and organizations have launched public awareness campaigns to promote safe driving.
Car seat manufacturers have also provided installation manuals and videos that assist parents in securing their children in the appropriate restraining devices. Even if parents can’t seem to get it together properly, they can reach out to one of the many thousands of “fitting stations” located in each of the U.S. states.
Car Seats & Booster Seats
In the United States, automobile accidents account for the most tragic deaths of children between the ages of one and twelve years old. Parents can prevent these fatalities by placing and securing their children in a reliable car seat. Parents must choose the right car seat or booster to fit into while traveling from one destination to another, even if cruising down the road to the nearest grocery store. Not only will the child ride safely as possible, he or she will establish the lifelong habit of seat belt use every time the child gets into a vehicle.
- Child Restraint in Automobiles
- Car Seat and Booster Seat Safety Facts (PDF)
- Booster Seat FAQs
- Transportation Safety: Misuse of Car Seats and Boosters (PDF)
- Car Seats, Boosters and Seat Belt Safety
- Air Bags Save Lives: Put Car Seats in the Back!
Parents must protect their children by installing the car set or booster correctly. Statistically, three to four car seats are not used correctly, which defeats the purpose of securing a child in the safety device in the first place. Before choosing a car seat, parents need to evaluate the different types of models on the market and then assess whether it will fit into their vehicle. The wrong type of car seat or booster will not install correctly into a vehicle, regardless of the chosen installation method. Many parents get confused and frustrated when attempting to install a car seat or booster, which is a completely normal reaction. Fortunately, many manufacturers provide an instructional manual with directions on how to properly install the car seat or booster.
- Car Seat Installation Information
- How to Install an Infant-Only Seat
- LATCH and Tether Questions, Quick Answers and Sketches
- LATCH and Tethers: What You Need to Know (PDF)
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) Restraint System
- Installing Your Child’s Car Seat Tightly (PDF)
- The Best Practices for Buckling Up Children (PDF)
- How To Install a Child Safety Seat
Securing Your Child
Parents should refer to their car seat or booster’s instruction manual for instructions on how to place and secure their children in the car seat. The instruction manual should describe how the car seat works, including how to correctly position the car seat, how to secure the car seat, and how to ensure that the child remains secure in the car seat at all times. Generally, car seats have a harness that parents can pull down over the shoulders of their children where they will secure the latch with the car’s seat belt. The harness will restrain the child from climbing out of their seat while traveling on the road. In addition, the harness protects the child from flying out of the front windshield in the event they are involved in an automobile accident.
- How Child Car Seats Work
- Get the Facts About LATCH – Securing Child Safety Seats
- Car Seat Installation Checklists
- Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Correct Use is Easy in Four Steps
- Toddler Car Seat Manual (PDF)
- Infant Seat Installation (PDF)
- Practical Advice for Parents: Car Seats and Seatbelts
Many manufacturers will provide an instructional manual and a DVD that works as a visual aide to securing their children into the car seat or booster. Parents can also find several resources online or at their local library that will help guide them through the steps of appropriately securing their children before hitting the road. Some of these videos may offer bunk advice, so it’s imperative that the parent directly contacts the car seat manufacturer for sound instructions. Following the wrong advice can lead to disastrous results if the child climbs out of their car seat during a traffic stop.
- Videos and Info: Car Seat Safety by Age
- How to Install Your Evenflo Car Seat: Videos
- Car Seat Basics
- How Do I Know If My Car Seat Has Been Recalled?
- Air Bags Can Help Or Harm
- Motor Vehicle Safety: Car Seats, Child Passengers and Teenage Drivers
- Car Safety: Air Bags, Car Seats, and Your Child’s Safety (PDF)
Other Car Safety Links
Many educational resources exist that will direct parents in the right direction when installing car seats and boosters. In addition, many parents have formed alliances and non-profit organizations dedicated on raising awareness of child safety devices, including car seats and boosters. Governmental, local, and tribal agencies have started to enforce safety regulations pertaining to car seats and boosters. Other concerned parents have taken the responsibility of informing their friends on appropriately securing their children. If neighbors begin to look out for others, then the chances of recurring incidents will drastically lessen over time.
- List of Effective Educational Materials for a Booster Seat Campaign (PDF)
- Increasing the Use of Booster Seats: A Community-Based Research Project (PDF)
- Safe Ride Helpline for Child Passenger Safety
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Child Seat Recall Campaign Listing
- Seat Belts: Your Single Most Effective Safety Step
- Booster Seat Safety
- Recommended Car Seats