We have put together this basic car seat safety guide to help parents gain a better understanding about both booster and car seats. These are important pieces of equipment, and our goal is to help parents keep their babies and children as safe as possible while on the roads and streets in the Detroit metro area.
Car Accident Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 638 children under the age of 13 were killed, and another 127,250 injured in motor vehicle accidents during 2013. Of those children who lost their lives, more than a third were not buckled in at the time of the crash. In fact, a CDC study indicated that during the course of 1 year, more than 618,000 children between the ages of 0-12 rode in a motor vehicle without a car seat, booster seat, or seatbelt.
Because car seats have been shown to reduce the risk of infant death by approximately 71%, and toddler fatalities by 54%, it’s critically important to keep your child safely secured in a government-approved car seat. Booster seats significantly improve a child’s chances of avoiding serious injury should you be involved in a collision. When a child between 4 and 8 years of age is secured in a booster seat, it reduces the risk of serious injury by about 45%.
What Type of Car Seat Should Your Child Be Using?
One of the most common questions parents ask is what type of car seat offers the best protection. Michigan car seat laws require children under the age of 4 to ride in a car seat in the back seat of a vehicle. If a child is in a rear-facing car seat, it must be placed in the front seat of a vehicle and the passenger side airbag must be deactivated. Until a child is 8 years old or 4’9″, he or she is required by law to be safely secured in either a car seat or booster seat.
This breakdown helps make it clear:
- Rear-facing car seat: From birth to 12 months of age, a child should be riding in a rear-facing car seat. Babies may outgrow an infant car seat within 12 months. Children can – and should – remain in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible, up to the age of 3.
- Front-facing car seat: Between 1 to 3 years of age, a child can ride in a front-facing car seat as long as he or she has exceeded the height or weight requirements for a rear-facing car seat. A convertible model seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing one. Children should remain in a front-facing car seat until they are 7 years old or until they have reached the maximum height or weight limits of the specific car seat.
- Booster seat: Booster seats are for children up to the age of 12. Many children will only need a booster seat until they are 7 or 8. However, until a child fits in a seat belt properly, he or she should be safely buckled into a booster seat.
- Seat belt: Once a child is 8 years old or 4’9″, he or she must be secured properly with a seatbelt when riding in a vehicle. Put your child in the back seat of your vehicle—it is safer for children.
A few other car seat safety tips include:
Carefully read the installation instructions for the car seat or booster seat and follow all instructions to the letter. Look at training videos if you run into any problems with the installation instructions.
- Use a no-back booster seat for vehicles that have a headrest on the rear or back seats.
- Always use both a lap and shoulder belt for children using booster seats.
- Refer to height and weight restrictions and car seat guidelines.
- Make sure your child’s car seat or booster seat is not on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall list.
Parents who are uncertain as to whether or not their child’s car seat has been properly installed can use the Parents Central search engine to find a child car seat inspection station nearest them. Schedule an appointment and visit a child car seat inspection station to make sure it is properly installed.