Helminc.com Service and Owner Information
Helminc.com eNewsletter Archive > 2006 eNewsletters > March > Child Safety in Automobiles

Child Safety in Automobiles

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of fatalities among children in the U.S.* Fortunately, with proper knowledge and action, child safety can increase significantly while riding in automobiles. This article provides background information on how to safely travel with children ranging from infants to early teens.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control

Child Safety Seats and Booster Seats

Different seating arrangements are required for safe travel as a child grows. Is a rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat, or booster seat appropriate? This table shows correct usage of infant and child automobile seating. Based upon age and size, it provides a guide for choice of seat type and usage tips. View the guide here.

To get a recommendation on the type of seating based upon your child’s age, weight, and height, visit http://www.boosterseat.gov. A summary of state legal requirements regarding the use of booster seats is also published on this site.

The NHTSA's Ease of Use Ratings program continues to prompt child restraint manufacturers to improve their products and make them easier for consumers to use. The purpose of the ratings program is to educate parents and caregivers about child safety seat features and to assist them in finding the appropriate child safety seat for their needs.

Remember, the best child safety seat is the one that fits your child properly, is easy to use, and fits in your vehicle correctly. The best way to ensure a proper fit in your vehicle is to try installing the child seat before purchasing. View the ratings at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CPS/CSSRating/Index.cfm

Many children who ride in child safety seats are improperly secured. A survey of more than 17,500 children found that only 15% of children in safety seats were correctly harnessed into correctly installed seats. (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/childpas.htm)

To be sure your child’s seat is installed correctly and securely, there are many inspection stations where you can get a free check and advice on proper installation. To find an inspection station near you, visit http://www.seatcheck.org or call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK.

From time to time, child safety seats are recalled due to various safety issues or other defects. A comprehensive list of such recalls can be found here: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/childseat.cfm

Children should always ride in the back seat

All children ages 12 years and younger should ride in the back seat, the safest part of a vehicle in the event of a crash. This is especially important for vehicles with front passenger-side airbags. Riding in the back seat is associated with at least a 30% reduction in the risk of fatal injury in cars without such airbags. Placing children in the back seat of vehicles reduces this risk by 46%.

The force of a deployed airbag is a great danger to a young child even in a slow-speed crash. Children ages 12 years and younger, including infants, should never be placed in a seat in front of an airbag. Riding in the back eliminates children’s risk of such injury. For more information, visit the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/spotlite/chldseat.htm

We have shown how the children riding with you can be best protected from the leading cause of injury in their age group: automobile accidents in which they are not properly seated or restrained. Ensure the child is riding in an appropriate type of seat based upon their age, size, and weight. Verify the seating is installed correctly and securely by seeking an inspection by a trained professional near you. Seat children in the back seat where it is much safer and out of the way of airbags.

The web sites cited in the article above have a great deal more information on the topic of child travel safety. We invite you to read further. Be safe, and enjoy the trip.


Buy Service and Owner Information Online or Call (800) 782-4356
© 2008 Helm Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.