The Easter weekend has arrived and many people will take to the highway to visit friends and family. Many families will be transporting their children and grandchildren to various homes and events, including the traditional Easter Egg hunt. While transporting this “precious cargo,” make certain they are in the correct child safety seat for their age, height and weight. Georgia law requires that every driver who transports a child eight years of age and younger in a passenger automobile, van, or pickup truck must restrain the child in a child safety seat.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, wants to make sure children are properly buckled up in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, whichever is appropriate for their age, height, and weight.
- Birth up to age 2 – Rear-facing car seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
- Age 2 up to at least age 5 – Forward-facing car seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
- Age 5 up until seat belts fit properly – Booster seat. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat (by reaching the upper height or weight limit of their seat), they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seat until seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Remember to keep children properly buckled in the back seat for the best possible protection.
- Once seat belts fit properly without a booster seat – Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). For the best possible protection keep children properly buckled in the back seat.
- Install and use car seats and booster seats according to the seat’s owner’s manual or get help installing them from a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Find a Child Passenger Safety Technician.
CDC also recommends buckling all children ages 12 and under in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag.
- Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
- Buckle children in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts on every trip, no matter how short.
- Set a good example by always using your seat belt.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety highlights common mistakes of child safety seat installation:
- Not using the right child safety seats for a child’s size and age;
- Not placing the child safety seat in the correct direction;
- Incorrectly installing the child safety seat in relation to the vehicle’s air bags;
- Incorrect installation and secureness of the child safety seat to the vehicle seat;
- Not securing/tightening the child safety seat’s harness and crotch straps;
- Improper use of locking clips for certain vehicle safety belts;
- Improper fit of seat belts on children using a booster seat;
- Use of a defective or broken child safety seat.
Enjoy your Easter weekend! Remember to buckle up and be safe!