Guidelines for child car safety

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Injuries |

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, car crashes are the leading cause of death for young children. In Pennsylvania alone, roughly 7,000 car crashes annually involve children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides these guidelines for driving with young children as passengers.

Children under age two

All infants and young children under age two must travel in a rear-facing car seat with a harness that secures them and a strap connecting to the car’s passenger seat. If a crash occurs, the back support of the car’s front seat absorbs most of the impact, and that of the child safety seat distributes the residual force throughout the child’s body to minimize the trauma.

Children between ages two and four

Toddlers should continue to ride in rear-facing car seats until they reach age four or exceed the seat manufacturer’s weight and height limit.

Children between ages four and eight

Children can begin riding in forward-facing car seats starting around age four or when they meet the seat manufacturer’s guidelines. A harness secures them to the safety seat, which straps to the car’s back seat.

Children between ages eight and thirteen

Children may graduate to a booster seat at age eight or when they exceed a car seat manufacturer’s height and weight recommendation. A booster on the car’s back seat allows the child to wear seat belts across the thighs and shoulders. Eventually, children who can comfortably wear seat belts without a booster can ride sitting on a vehicle’s front or back seat. However, it is generally safest to ride in a car’s back seat until age 13.

You can not know who is driving on the road with you, but you can ensure that your child travels safely by following your state’s child passenger safety guidelines.