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Keeping Kids Safe in Cars!

Wherever you live, keeping kids safe in cars is an important topic!  Knowing the basic laws about child restraints will help insure the best chances for safety, and equally important is to know rules parents should adopt about child behavior in cars.

Pennsylvania’s seat belt law states that under age four, children must be restrained properly in a child-safety seat anywhere in the vehicle.  Age four through eight require booster seats to be high enough for the seat belt not to be covering their neck or in an untenable position.  From eight to eighteen, depending on child size and weight of course, they must use a seat belt.

Here’s a better breakdown:

First year of life: -Ride rear-facing, NOT in the front jump seat.   Always keep your kids in the back seat. These are the only child safety seats that are allowed to be rear-facing.

Two and Three year olds: Still best to keep them facing the car rear, but check your child’s weight and height against the car seat manufacturer recommendations.  If they outgrow the limit for rear-facing then turn them around and use the normal harness provided in the car seat.  Still keep them in the back seat.

Four to Seven Year Olds: forward facing and again keep an eye on height and weight limits.  Once your child exceeds those recommended limits they will graduate to a booster.  However, it is still important to keep them in the back seat.

Eight to Twelve Year Olds: they can stay in a booster, but if your child is tall and the seat belt can fit properly then it is alright to put them in a regular seat.  Make sure the lap belt fits across their upper thighs.  This is vital, as lap belts crossing their abdomen or stomach can cause harm in an accident.  The chest belt must not be hitting the neck or face and once again, keep them in the back seat where it’s safer.

Child safety in cars includes other issues which could affect your ability to drive safely; like noise level of games, arguments, and physical movements and fighting among siblings.  For more on rules for children in the car see Stephanie Trombello, National Child Passenger Safety Instructor. http://www.videojug.com/interview/kids-and-cars

More valuable resources and information can be found at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Keeping Kids Safe in Cars!

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