Make every ride a safe ride. Don't let things like being on vacation, being in a hurry, being late or going on a long ride wear you down. Even when you feel too tired to move, transfer your child's safety seat to the car in which your infant will be riding. And, if your own father tries to talk you out of putting your fussing baby in that "awful car seat way back there with nothing to look at" and if he goes on to tell you about the coast-to-coast car trips where you sat happily on your mother's lap in the front seat for the whole trip, don't give in. You know the right thing to do, so do it. Make every ride a safe ride. No Exceptions! No excuses! No regrets!
Protect Your Child from Motor Vehicle Injury
Infants should ride rear facing in an infant only or a convertible car safety seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed for use by the manufacturer of the seat. When infants reach the the weight or height limit for the infant only seat, which usually is 20-22 pounds or when the head is within an inch of the top of the seat. infants should ride rear facing to at least one year and at least 20 pounds. Children in the second year of life are five times less likely to have serious injury or die in a crash rear facing than forward facing.
All children are safest in the rear seat, and rear-facing car safety seat in a forward facing car safety seat with a full harness. Seats with harnesses are for children up to 40-65 pounds depending on the seat and until the child's ears reach the top of the back of the car safety seat.
The harness should be in slots at or below the child's shoulders when rear facing and at or above the shoulders and for some seats in the top slots when forward facing.
Booster seats are important for children who have outgrown car safety seats with a full harness but are not yet at least 8 years old or for whom they seat belt does not fit-usually when 4'9" tall. Booster seats help make the seat belt fit until the child is large enough for the lap-shoulder belt to fit well across the strongest body parts. the seat belt fits when the should belt crosses the mid-chest, the lap belt is low and flat across the upper legs and the child's knees bend over the edge of the seat when his or her bottom is against the back of the vehicle seat. the shoulder belt should never be under the arm or behind the child's back.
All children under the age of 13 should sit in the back seat of the car, using the restraint that protects the child the best. The back seat is safer than the front seat, even when there is no air bag on the passenger side.
Air Bags and Children
Air bags are dangerous for children under the age of 13 as well as any passenger not properly positioned. Passenger air bags have caused the death of more than 150 children. almost all of these children were improperly or unrestrained at the time of the crash. Air bags inflate only in front end crashes. They inflate at tremendous speed of up to 200 miles per hour. The bag loses air immediately after it inflates.
The cause of death from air bags is injury to the head or neck. The injury to infants in rear facing car safety seats is caused by the inflating bag hitting the back of the seat causing severe force in the infant's head. Children in forward facing seats are hit in the head and neck causing severe spine and head injuries.