Car Safety for Kids
Car safety for kids lasts long after they outgrow a traditional car seat. Recommendations can change from year-to-year, and it’s important for parents to stay up-to-date to keep their child safe during every errand and trip.
The American Academy of Pediatrics regularly reviews and updates car safety recommendations. The latest recommendations include
- Rear-facing car seats for infants and toddlers until they reach the manufacturer’s height and weight limits for the car seat.
- Forward-facing car seats with a harness for toddlers and preschoolers, until they reach the manufacturer’s height and weight limit for the car seat.
- Booster seats for school age children who have outgrown the height and weight requirements on forward facing seats. Children should not ride in booster seats until they weigh at least 40 pounds and at least meet the minimum height requirement for the booster seat.
Older children can use the vehicle’s seatbelt when it fits properly, which is typically when they are about 4 feet, 9 inches tall. You know your child is ready for a seat belt when
- Your child’s back is straight up against the seat,
- Knees are bent over the seat, and
- Feet are flat on the floor.
Children should not sit in the front seat until they are 13 years old.
It can be a challenge for older kids to understand why they aren’t sitting up front like their friends or are still in a booster. Talk with your child about how seat belts and car seats keep them safe and the importance of following the law. Regular conversations can set the stage for safe driving habits down the road.
Still have questions about car safety? Review Adventist HealthCare’s car seat guide, organized by age.