Although May is Teen Safe Driving Month, we shouldn’t lose sight on safety precautions for our infant and toddler passengers. Buckling up is the single most effective way to keep you and your passengers safe from injury.
Your littlest passengers’ lives are in your hands so it’s critical you always make sure their car seat is properly installed and they are buckled up for every single ride. Here are some tips and reminders about how to keep your youngest passengers safe.
Choose From 3 Types of Child Car Seats
There are three types of car seats, each with their pros and cons. Choose the one that best fits your needs.
- Rear facing only: these are portable and can be used with strollers (depending on the manufacturer). Because of the constant use, this car seat may not last as long as the other options.
- Convertible: stays in the car, cannot be used with a stroller. It can be used as a rear facing seat until the child is age 2, then you can convert it to front-facing. This seat is larger than the other options, so consider the size of your car before purchasing this one.
- 3-in-1: Also stays in the car, but you can use this seat as a rear-facing, front-facing, then eventually a booster seat. This is your most cost efficient seat however you will need to keep it clean and usable for nearly 10 years! And we all know that keeping things clean around children is an impossible task.
Get a Professional to Install Your Seat
Read and follow the manufacturer’s installation guide when placing your child car seat in your vehicle. Or take our suggestion and take extra precaution to have a nearby child car seat installation station inspect the seat. You can never be too sure about the installation - these stations will save you a piece of mind. Find a child seat station here.
When to Change Your Child’s Car Seat
Here are California’s laws on child passengers. These are not suggestions, these are laws written to keep your child’s safety at an optimum.
- Under 2 years old and weighs less than 40 pounds, or more than 40 inches tall: the child can ride in a rear-facing five point harness car seat.
- Under 8 years old: must be secured in a car or booster seat in the back seat.
- Over 8 years old or have reached 4’9” in height: must be secured by a safety belt
- Over 16 years old: subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law
Don’t Rush Your Child Into a Booster Seat
California law doesn’t address the exact time to move your child from a five point harness car seat to a booster seat. There is no rush to graduate your child into a booster seat. It is safer that you take your time and follow manufacturer recommendations. Each time a child a graduates to a less restrictive car seat, their safety is reduced. So keep to these guidelines!
Seat belt and child seat violations are costly. And avoiding taking extra precaution with your child’s safety can lead to severe injury or death. We always recommend to buckle up, however if you find yourself receiving a seat belt violation ticket, we are happy to help you erase it from your record. Visit us here for more information on how to beat your California traffic ticket.