Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsors Child Passenger Safety Week during the third week of September as a way to raise awareness regarding car seat safety. This year, Child Passenger Safety Week 2019 is held between September 15th through September 21st. Because our Raleigh preschool is dedicated to helping parents keep kids as safe as possible, we want to take an opportunity to share some information about how to keep your little ones safe when you’re on the road.
The Importance of Car Seat Safety
While we all understand that it’s important to buckle kids in and use a car seat, the statistics truly drive home why we need to take extra care.
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages one to 13.
- 675 children under 13 were killed in a car crash in 2017 – 37 percent were not buckled in any kind of car seat.
- Nearly half of car seats aren’t installed correctly or in proper use.
- The NHTSA says that when used correctly, car seats can lower the risk of fatal injury by 54% in toddlers and 71% in toddlers.
Fortunately, the more people who know car seat safety, the more we can reduce injuries and keep our precious cargo safe!
Use the Right Car Seat
Making sure your child is in the appropriate car seat for their age, weight, and height is the first step toward car seat safety. Not sure which one to use? Here are the main types of seats:
Infant Car Seat
An infant car seat is designed to only be used rear facing for newborns and small babies. Babies generally grow out of the “bucket” seat by eight or nine months old – when they hit the weight limit or their head or feet hit the edges of the seat.
Remember, when buckling in your baby, make sure the chest clip is parallel with their underarms, not resting on their tummies!
Convertible Car Seat
A convertible car seat has a five-point harness and can be used rear-facing for infants and toddlers up to a specific weight limit – often between 35 and 50 pounds. It can also be turned around to be a forward-facing option as your child grows. Check your child’s car seat weight limits to determine the best usage, and like infant seats, make sure the chest clip is parallel with the child’s underarms.
A booster seat raises your child up so the vehicle’s seat belt can fit low across the lap and snugly across the chest and shoulder. They can be either backless or have a hard back and offer more freedom of movement than a five-point harness. Booster seats should only be used for children who are at least five years old, weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, and can sit safely in a vehicle with a seat belt.
No matter what type of seat your child is in, make sure you follow the weight and height guidelines and that they correspond with your child.
Find the right car seat for your child here!
Rear Facing Toddlers and Preschoolers in Car Seats
While North Carolina law says children only have to be in a rear-facing car seat until they are one year old and 20 pounds, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend rear facing your child until the age of two. However, those are minimum laws and recommendations.
Many car seats can be safely turned backwards until the child weighs 35 pounds or more, though it’s important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines. The longer you can keep a child’s car seat turned around, the safer they are as children are five times less likely to be injured in an accident due to the way the neck and spinal column develop. Turning a child’s seat around early puts them at greater risk for severe trauma in the event of a car accident.
If you’re not sure which option is best for your child, discuss it with your pediatrician.
Getting Your Car Seat Inspected
Your child is in the right car seat for their age, height, and weight, and it’s rear-facing or forward-facing depending on your pediatrician’s recommendations. Now, you need to make sure the seat itself is installed correctly! While car seats all come with instructions, it’s hard to tell if the seat is too loose, if it’s off balance, or other factors that could prevent it from being 100 percent effective.
Fortunately, there are certified car seat inspection technicians who will inspect your car seat free of charge! Many fire departments, police stations, and health departments have certified technicians available. Options near our Raleigh preschools include:
- Wake County Human Services – call 919-250-3989 to make an appointment; Contact: Suzanne LeDoyen
- Knightdale Fire Department PCS – call 919-217-2271 to find available times; Contact: Christopher Miller
- Wake Forest Police Department PCS – call 919-761-3160 to make an appointment; Contact: Julius Jefferson
Check out other options here!
Safe Travels from Our Raleigh Preschool
Whether you’re going on a road trip or you’re going to the grocery store, we want you and your family to be safe on the road. We believe in following safe practices when we take the children in our care to special events and field trips so parents feel confident that their children will be just as safe in our care as they are in their own.
To learn more about our preschool and take a tour, call our North Hills Drive location at 919-785-0303 or our Spring Forest location at 919-790-6888, or fill out our convenient contact form to get started!