Expert Health Articles

Car Seat Safety

Susie Grace, M.D.Susie Grace, M.D.

Pediatric Hospitalist
Pediatric Hospitalists of Northwest Ohio

As parents, we want to do everything we can to keep our children safe. This can be difficult when one of the most routine activities we do puts our children at risk. I am referring to motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle crashes kill more than 1,100 children and injure more than 160,000 each year. In fact, this is the leading cause of death for children over the age of one. Most children ride in a car on a daily basis and it is important to know how to keep them safe.

Did you know that the recommendations for car seat safety were recently updated? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children remain in a rear facing car seat until at least the age of 2. Some experts recommend even longer. The safest location in the car for your baby is in the rear middle seat. Keep in mind that you should never buy a used car seat. If you would like to check for proper installation of your car seat, contact the local health department to have a certified child passenger safety technician inspect the seat.

Children should remain in a 5 point restraint car seat until at least age 4, and then transition to a booster seat until age 8. If you would like more information, manufacturers provide size recommendations for their products. Please be advised that older children should not be allowed to sit in the front seat of the car until at least age 13. Also, remember to always wear a seatbelt and instruct your child to put on his or her seat belt as well. While this may seem like a small task, it saves lives. Actually, it’s the law!