In the summer, the majority of fatalities and serious personal injuries to children under the age of 14 are the result of car accidents. During the summer, more families are on the road, headed to the cottage, shuttling their children to and from camp activities, and going on family roadtrips. While all of these activities can be quite safe, taking extra precautions is an important part of summer safety.
Booster and child safety seats are an important part of the equation. Experts say that a correctly fitted child safety seats can reduce a child’s risk of death or injury by up to 75%. Children who are under 4 feet and 9 inches in height and weight between 40 and 80 pounds should always be placed in a booster seat each time they are placed in the car. The booster seat works by allowing the seat belts to close around the child correctly by lifting the child up.
When the child is over 4’9″ tall and 80 pounds or more, he or she is ready to use a regular seatbelt. It is important to always strap the child in with the seatbelt before getting in the car yourself. Teach your child about the importance of the safety belt, and encourage your child to buckle up themselves. If your child tends to unbuckle themselves, consider getting a special safety device to prevent the child from opening the seat belt buckle.
If you are traveling with an infant who is less than 1 year old and weighs 10kg (22lbs) or less, you will need a rear facing car seat. These car seats protect the baby the most and prevent the child from being thrown about in the event of a car accident. Read the directions of your car seat carefully – some rear facing car seats are made for infants up to 32 lbs.
Some parents may wish to opt for a convertible seat for children one year of age or a little older. The convertible seat is meant for children who are up to 30 lbs, although some models today are built for children up to 35 lb. These seats are rear-facing and protect the child better. They can eventually be turned into front-facing safety seats, simply by adjusting how they are placed in the car.
3-in-one car seats are safety seats that can be used with children between 5lb and 80lb. The seats can be mounted as rear-facing or front-facing. Harnesses keep the child safe in the seat while the seat belts keep the seat in place. Most manufacturers recommend that parents replace these seats every six years.