National Child Passenger Safety Seat Week is September 12 – 19, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Auto accidents are the number one cause of death in children between the ages of 2 and 14. The cause of death is primarily due to the child not being properly restrained in a child safety seat, improper use or installation of a safety seat, or an older child not wearing a seat belt.
As your child grows, the safety seat must be suitable for his or her age and size. But with the numerous selections available, how does one choose? The Child Passenger Safety page of the NHTSA website details the proper selection of your child’s safety seat for four stages of a child’s life – baby, toddler, child, and tween.
Now that you have the right child restraint seat, do you know if you installed it correctly? Many children die in their child seat because of improper installation or the child’s seat does not match the vehicle. NHTSA recommends using the LATCH system – Lower Anchors and Tethers (Restraints) for Children. According to NHTSA:
Nearly every car seat and most vehicles manufactured since September 1, 2002, are required to have the LATCH system. LATCH makes it easier to get the child seat in right – the first time and every time.
The website also has demonstration videos to show you how to properly install your child’s seat. Then if you’re still not sure, contact one of the local child seat inspection stations that offer free inspections.