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Important Note

The information included in this app is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Always consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions.

Dayton Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc shall not be liable for any damages or injury resulting from your access to, inability to access, or use of this app, including, without limitation, any damages or injury arising from any links to other sites.

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Rear Facing

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using a rear-facing car seat until your child is:

  • At least 2 years old OR
  • Until the child reaches the upper weight limit of a rear-facing convertible car seat.

A child’s developing head, neck and back are best protected by a rear-facing car seat.

Rear-Facing Tips

Harness straps should be tight and placed in the slits at or below your child’s shoulders.

The chest clip should be snugly positioned at armpit level.

A rear-facing seat should sit between a 30 and 45 degree angle.

Always follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions for use and installation.

Still have questions? Contact a location child passenger safety technician.

Forward Facing

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children should ride forward-facing once they have reached age 2 or the upper weight limits of their rear-facing convertible car seat. Children should ride forward-facing in a 5-point harness as long as possible depending on the car seat manufacturer’s instructions. It’s safest for your child to ride in a forward-facing car seat until he or she is at least 4 years old and between 40 and 85 pounds.

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Still have questions? Contact a location child passenger safety technician.

Forward-Facing Tips

Harness straps should be tight and placed in the slits at or below your child’s shoulders.

The chest clip should be snugly positioned at armpit level.

Forward-facing seats sit upright and tight against the back of the vehicle seat.

Always follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions for use and installation.

Still have questions? Contact a location child passenger safety technician.

Booster

Seat belts are designed to fit an average-sized adult. Booster seats are designed to lift a child up to better fit into the adult seat belt. A booster seat makes the lap and shoulder belts fit low over the child’s thighs and hips and snug over the shoulder.

Booster Seat Tips

A booster seat is the right choice for children who are at least 4 years old, weigh at least 40 pounds and are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches.

For the best protection, ensure your child has reached the upper weight limit of your forward-facing, 5-point harness seat before graduating to a booster seat.

Booster seats must always be used with both a lap and shoulder belt, never with a lap belt only.

Never place the shoulder belt under your child’s arm or behind your child’s back when using a booster seat. Ensure your child sits like this for every ride.

If your car does not have head support, a high back booster seat is a good choice.

Always follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions for use and installation.

Still have questions? Contact a location child passenger safety technician.

Seat Belt

Seat belts are designed for adults. It is important that your child is big enough before graduating from a booster seat into a seat belt.

Seat Belt Tips

Children who are least 4 feet 9 inches tall typically fit into the lap and shoulder seat belt in the back seat of a car.

Ensure your child can sit all of way back against the vehicle seat with his or her knees bent comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat.

Ensure the lap portion of your child’s seat belt fits low across the hips and the shoulder portion fits snugly between your child’s neck and arm.

Never let your child place the shoulder belt under his or her arm or behind his or her back when using a seat belt. Ensure your child sits like this for every ride.

Children younger than age 13 should always ride in the back seat.

Expired Car Seats

Car seats go through a lot! After about 6 years, most car seats expire. Expiration dates may be marked on the label or stamped on the back or bottom of the car seat. You can also call the car seat manufacturer for expiration information. The manufacturer may ask for the name or model number of and the date of manufacture which you can find on the car seat labels.

Crash Facts

Have you been in a car crash? The National Highway Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that you replace your car seat after a moderate to severe car crash.

What is a moderate/severe crash?

Second-hand Seats

Car seats purchased at yard sales or second-hand stores are not safe because you may not know their full history. The seat may have been in a crash, be missing instructions, labels or parts or be on the recall list. Ensure your child is safe by using a car seat whose history is known.

Recall Alert!

Car seats may be recalled for a variety of reasons including safety issues, missing parts or changes to instructions. In many cases, a car seat recall may not require that you return the car seat but only get an additional part or instructions. After purchasing a car seat, ensure you complete and send in the registration card that comes with the instructions. Car seat manufacturers will contact you only if your car seat is recalled.

More on car seat recalls

Your Precious Cargo

When another driver must transport your child ensure they can answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • I have a valid driver’s license
  • I have auto insurance
  • I do not carry weapons in the car
  • I will not allow a teenage driver to substitute for me when I am supposed to drive the carpool
  • I will not drive if I have had any alcohol or drugs that impair driving

Heat Can Hurt

Never leave your child alone in a car – not even for a short errand. Over 500 children have died since 1998 after being left unattended in a vehicle. Prevent this tragedy by always locking unattended vehicle doors and trunks so children cannot climb in to play. Create reminders and habits such as calling or texting caregivers who drop off your child so all of you know where your child is at all times.

Safety In the Skies

Most safety seats can be used on airplanes, but booster seats and travel vests cannot. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the AAP recommend that when flying, children should be securely fastened in certified child restraints until 4 years of age, and then should be secured with the airplane seat belts. Check the label on your car seat or call the car seat manufacturer before you travel to see if your seat is certified for use on an airplane. Learn more from the FAA: http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/.

Keeping it Simple

There are a variety of products on the market that are designed to keep your child comfortable in the car or booster seat. However, many of these products such as belt positioners, mirrors and seat protectors are not approved for use by car seat makers. Before purchasing these items, check with the company that made your car seat. In most cases, keeping it simple is best.

Driving Distraction Free

When you are driving with your precious cargo, or even driving alone, ensure that you are driving distraction free. Texting, talking on a cell phone or smartphone, eating and drinking, talking with passengers, and other distractions should be avoided to ensure that all passengers – and the driver – are safe on the go!

Put It All Together

Before you hit the road, make sure you can answer yes to the following:

  • Each child has a seat belt system to hold him, the booster seat or car seat
  • Each child younger than 13 is riding in a back seat
  • The driver has walked around the entire vehicle checking for children or other hazards
  • Every person is properly buckled before the car starts

Need help installing a car seat?

If you live in the Dayton area, you can contact the MeadWestvaco Family Resource Center at Dayton Children’s for information about area community car seat checks and hours for our local fitting station. This phone number is (937) 641-3700.