HomeNewsArticle Display

101 Critical Days of Summer winding down

SMC Safety Office -- Children and safety belts, quick safety seat checkup

Does your child ride in the back seat?
The back seat is generally the safest place in a crash. If your vehicle has a passenger air bag, it is critical for children 12 and under to ride in back.

Does your child ride facing the right way?
Infants should ride in rear-facing restraints (in the back seat) until age 1 and at least 20-22 pounds. Infants who weigh 20 pounds, and under age 1, should ride in a restraint approved for higher rear-facing weights. Always read your child restraint manual for instructions on proper use of the restraint. Children over age one and at least 20 pounds may ride facing forward.

Never place an infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag.

Does the safety belt hold the seat tightly in place?
Put the belt through the correct slots. If your safety seat can be used facing either way, use the correct belt path for each direction. Check the vehicle owner's manual and safety seat instruction book for guidance.

Is the harness buckled snugly around your child?
Keep harness straps snug over the child's shoulders. Place the chest clip at armpit level.

Does your child over 40 pounds have the best protection possible?
Keep your child in a safety seat with a full harness as long as possible, at least until 40 pounds. Then use a belt-positioning booster seat which helps the adult lap and shoulder belt fit better. A belt-positioning booster seat is preferred for children between 40-80 pounds. It is used with the adult lap and shoulder belt.

How should a safety belt fit an older child?
The child should be tall enough to sit without slouching with knees bent at the edge of the seat and feet on the floor. The lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest over the shoulder and across the chest. Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child's back. The adult lapand shoulder-belt system alone will not fit most children until they are at least 4 foot 9 inches tall and weigh about 80 pounds

The 101 Critical Days of Summer ends on Labor Day, Sept. 4, but safety is a year-round effort. Remembering to apply personal risk management to every task can save lives.