Driving your car is probably the riskiest behaviour you engage in on a day-to-day basis, and your kids are your most precious cargo. Newfoundland car accident lawyers don’t just see adults with car accident injuries; they see children injured from car accidents, too. You want to make sure you’re buckling them up properly so that they are as safe as possible in the event of a car accident. Here are the four car seating stages and key tips for each.
Stage 1: Rear-Facing Seats
- A rear-facing seat supports your child’s weak back and neck muscles in a sudden stop or car crash.
- Always install your rear-facing seat in the back seat of your car, as far away from the front as possible. Most vehicles have front seat airbags which can harm your baby at this stage of development.
- Depending on your vehicle and your rear-facing seat, use the Universal Anchorage System (UAS), seat belt, and locking system that keep your child’s seat as tightly secured as possible. The seat should not move more than 2.5 cm or 1 inch in either direction when you try to move it.
- Buckle up your child securely.
- Keep your child in the rear-facing seat until he or she grows out of it. Even if your child is big enough to move to the next stage, it is safest to keep him or her in the rear-facing seat until he or she doesn’t fit anymore. It’s okay if the child’s feet touch the back of your vehicle’s seat.
Stage 2: Forward-Facing Seats
- Forward-facing seats are for kids who have stronger neck and back muscles. They spread the force of a sudden stop or car crash onto the strongest parts of the body.
- Always install the seat in the back seat as far from the front airbags as possible.
- Choose the UAS, seat belt, and locking system that keeps the seat as securely fastened as possible. Do this according to your vehicle’s manual and forward-facing seat user guide.
- Always use a tether strap with forward facing child seats. The seat should not move more than 2.5 cm or 1 inch in any direction.
- Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat until he or she grows out of it. You can get forward-facing car seats with weight limits up to 65 pounds.
Stage 3: Booster Seats
- Your child must be at least 40 pounds before you put them in a booster seat.
- Always install the booster seat in the back seat of your car, furthest from the front seat airbags.
- Read your vehicle’s manual and booster seat guide to learn how to install your booster seat. There are many different kinds of seats.
- Always use both a lap belt and shoulder belt with a booster seat.
- Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she grows out of the height and weight restrictions. Your child is safer in the booster seat than if he or she graduated to just using a seat belt in the back seat.
Stage 4: Seat Belts in the Back Seat
- A seat belt keeps your child secure inside a vehicle where he or she is safest in a collision.
- To use a seat belt, your child should be able to sit straight with his or her back against the seat, knees hanging over the seat, and feet touching the floor.
- The shoulder belt should rest on your child’s shoulder, not under the arm or on the neck.
- The lap belt should be snug around your child’s hips, not around the stomach.
- Kids 12 and under should always be in the back seat.
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