Gone are the days when children rode unbuckled in the back seat or rode sitting on a grown-up’s lap. The state of Utah has laws requiring all children under the age of 8 to ride in an appropriate child safety seat. If you ride or drive with your grandchildren, it is important to check and make sure that your grandchild is within the proper height and weight limits for the car seat and that it is installed correctly.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that infants and toddlers ride rear facing for as long as possible. Once the height and/or weight limits for the child’s seat have been met in the rear facing position, it is time to transition to a forward facing car seat. In the forward facing position, it is important that the seat still utilizes a five-point harness and is appropriate for the height and weight of the child. The transition to a booster seat that utilizes the vehicle’s seat belt will come once the child has grown to the appropriate height and weight, usually between the ages of 4 and 7 years old.
Another important thing you can do to protect your grandchildren while in the car is making sure their seat is installed correctly. Unfortunately, a workshop held by NHTSA in 2005 found that three out of four car seats were not installed correctly. Oftentimes unintentional injury and even death, from the result of a car crash, could be prevented with the proper use of a seat belt, car seat, and/or booster seat.
Sept. 18-24 is National Child Passenger Safety Week. If you would like to have a car seat checked for free by a Child Passenger Safety Technician, please call (801) 538-6852 and you will be directed to a safety checkpoint near you.