• Facts About Car Seat Safety

    Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and serious injury for children over 1 year old.

    In 2000, more than half of all children under 15 years killed in car crashes were unrestrained, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    Texas law requires all children younger than 8 years old, or shorter than 4'9" tall to ride in a safety seat that is appropriate for their size and height. All children younger than 17 years must ride buckled up, whether in the front or back seats. In addition, everyone in the front seat, regardless of age, must wear safety belts.

    The best car safety seat parents can use is one that fits their car, is easy to use and is appropriate for their child’s height and weight. The type of safety seat needed will change as a child grows.

    Babies must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 20 pounds and 1 year old. A rear-facing car seat should never be placed in the front seat of a car with an airbag. 

    The child seat for babies weighing less than 20 pounds should sit at a 45-degree angle or the angle specified on the seat. This helps keep the baby’s head from dropping forward and cutting off the airway.

    A child whose ears reach the top of a car seat or heavier than 40 pounds should ride in a booster seat. Booster seats must be used with lap and shoulder belts. Once a child is in a booster seat, the safety belt should fit snugly across the center of the shoulder, not across the neck or face. In addition, the safety belt should lay low over the upper thighs, not ride up on the abdomen.

    Texas Children’s Center for Childhood Injury Prevention is committed to teaching parents and children ways to protect themselves from injuries and accidents through various community education programs including: car safety seat checks, Safe Sitter training and injury prevention classes.
     
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