(9/11/12) - Regardless of age, all passengers need to be buckled in. Follow specific guidelines for your child's height, age and weight to determine the best child safety restraint. For children ages 5 to 9, who are under 4 feet 9 inches tall and less than 80 to 100 pounds, a car seat or booster seat is a must for the best protection.
McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal provides the following safety tips for ensuring your child's protection in a motor vehicle:
• Use a car seat with a harness or booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder safety belts until your child passes the Safety Belt Fit Test.
• Older kids get weighed and measured less often than babies, so check your child's growth a few times each year.
• For children who are riding in booster seats, never place the shoulder belt under the child's arm or behind the child's back.
• Be sure all occupants wear safety belts correctly every time. Children learn from adult role models.
• Tell all drivers who transport your child that a car seat or booster seat use is a must when your child is in their vehicles.
• Treat seat belts as you would any cord or rope. Do not allow children to play with them at any time.
When your child reaches 4 feet 9 inches and between 80 to 100 pounds, use the Safety Belt Fit Test to determine if the child is big enough to use the adult seat belt without a booster. Use the Safety Belt Fit Test on every child under 13.
Safety Belt Fit Test
• Have your child sit in a back seat with his or her bottom and back against the vehicle's seat back. Do the child's knees bend at the seat's edge?
If yes, go on. If not, the child must stay in a booster seat.
• Buckle the seat belt. Does the lap belt stay low on the hips or high on the thigh?
If yes, go on. If it rests on the soft part of the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.
• Look at the shoulder belt. Does it lie on the collarbone and shoulder?
If yes, go on. If it is on the face or neck, the child must remain in a booster seat.
• Can the child maintain the correct seating position with the shoulder belt on the shoulder and the lap belt low across the hips, or high on the thighs?
If yes, the child has passed the Safety Belt Fit Test. If no, the child should return to a booster seat and re-test in a month.
For more information about motor vehicle safety, call Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal at (843) 777-5021 to speak to an Injury Prevention Specialist or visit www.McLeodSafeKids.org.
Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal, led by McLeod Health, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading cause of death in children 14 and under. Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is funded in part by the McLeod Health Foundation.