Child safety seats are such a vital piece of equipment to keep your child safe throughout the beginning years of their life. Every year, thousands of children are injured or killed by safety seats that are improperly fastened. By educating ourselves on how to properly install and use a child safety seat we can reduce the possibility of injuries in the event of a traffic collision.
- The child safety seat should be based off your child’s height, weight and age. Make sure you read the instructions and follow the manufacturer’s instructions completely; every child safety seat is different. If you are in a hurry and do not have the time to place the child safety seat in your vehicle properly, keep in mind what is at stake. The safety of your child is certainly worth the extra few moments it takes to place the seat properly, and secure your child safely.
- Once the child safety seat is properly installed in your vehicle give it a good pull at the base and see if you can move it. If you are able to move the seat more than one inch front to back or side to side, it is not secure enough.
- With your child seated in the seat, and the harness tightly buckled, the chest clip should be at armpit level. If it is not, adjust it up or down to get the positioning correct. Next, try to pinch the shoulder straps. If you can do this, the straps are not snug enough. Take some of the slack out of the straps and try it again.
- For rear facing seats, use the seat belt or lower anchors if equipped, to lock the seat in place. If you are using a forward facing seat, use the seat belt, or lower anchors if equipped, to lock the seat in place. It is not necessary to use both the seat belt and lower anchors if equipped. Pick whichever one is more to your liking as they are both equally safe.
- Know when it is time to move from one type of child safety seat to another. If your child exceeds the height or weight limit, or the child’s shoulders are now higher than the belt slots in the current seat, it is time to move to the next level, or possibly to a booster seat. Do not move out of a child safety seat to a booster seat until they have out grown the larger child seat. The child safety seat affords the most protection for the child until they reach the height, weight and age limits for a booster seat.
- Children under the age of 8 must be secure in a car seat or booster in the back seat.
- Children under the age of 8 who are 4’9” or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
- Children who are 8 years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.
- Passengers who are 16 year of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.
If you are still unsure on how to install a child safety seat please contact your local CHP office where you can set up an appointment for a lesson or check out their web-site atwww.chp.ca.gov. If you have any other questions or concerns, please call the Palmdale Sheriff Station at 661-272-2400 or email Deputy Jodi Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Deputy Jodi Wolfe