Buckle Up...Be Safe! (page 3)
Additional Car Seat and Car Safety Considerations
- Bring your baby home from the hospital in a car seat. Children who are used to the restraints are less likely to fight them.
- Be consistent in using your car seat. If your child fusses, pull over to the side of the road to quiet the child. However, present the issue as one where the child has no choice. And, use your own seat belt to set a good example.
- Point out to children that by sitting elevated in a car or booster seat they will be able to see more out the car window.
- Car rental agencies in California must provide safety seats for rent by customers on request. You might still want to bring along your own seat if you are sure it can be used in the type of car you will rent.
- Never hold a child of any age on your lap – even for a short ride. Doing so increases the chance the child will be injured in a crash. And, buckling a seat belt over a child held in your lap does not lessen the danger of injury. Each person should ride with his or her own seat belt.
For Child Care Providers And Car Pool Drivers
The law applies to you, too. You can be fined up to $270 for transporting someone else’s child without a car or booster seat. • Decide whether your program will provide the safety seats for field trips and carpools or whether you will ask parents to supply car seats. Given the wide variety of vehicles and safety seats, not all safety seats fit well in all vehicles. Be sure to install the safety seats properly in your vehicle.
- Additional seat belts can be installed for use with car seats or for children over 60 pounds.
- Child care licensees are required to post a Child Car Seat Law poster to alert parents of the current car seat law. Providers can obtain a copy of the sign at BANANAS. The one-page poster can also be downloaded from the web by visiting the "Safely on the Move in Child Care" website (www.safelyonthemove.sdsu.edu.) Or call toll-free (866) 700- 7686 for a poster or additional information.
Children Who Need Special Car Seats
There are a number of car seats designed for use with premature infants and children with physical or neurological disabilities. A few, such as the seats made by Columbia Medical Manufacturing (800)454-6612 and Tumble Forms (800) 631-7277 fit stroller frames for double duty.
Want To Know More?
Babies & Kids, Safest Car Seats
Provides information, ratings and recommendations on car seats and booster seats, as well as tips on how to install them properly.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Auto Safety Hotline (800) 424-9393
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590
Call or go to www.nhtsa.gov for information on car seat recalls. You can also request car seat handouts, including a “Shopping Guide for Child and Infant Safety Seats." The guide lists the manufacturers, models and price ranges of car seats which currently meet federal requirements.
As of January 2002, California law requires that children ride properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat until the
child is at least six years old or weighs 60 pounds.
The law applies to:
- Parents present when their children are in any vehicle, regardless of whether or not the parent is driving or owns the vehicle. In other words, if the parent is present, it is the parent, not the driver, who will receive the citation.
- Any driver transporting children when the parent is not present.
- Parents driving or riding in rental vehicles or any other driver of a rental vehicle if the parent is not present.
The law also requires retailers to sell only child passenger seats that conform to all federal safety standards.
If you spot improperly secured children in a vehicle, you can call (800) TELL-CHP to report the license number. The CHP will send a warning (not a ticket) to the registered owner.
What Happens If You Are In Violation Of The Law?
Any law enforcement officer can issue a warrant to appear in court. Charges may be dismissed only on the first offense, if the
person charged can produce proof in court that a child passenger seat has been obtained and/or the person has attended a
program providing education in the use of child passenger seat restraint systems. Failure to use a car seat can result in a
citation and a fine of up to $270 on first offense and $675 on second offense. Special note: You can also receive a citation
for any passenger over 6 or under 16 years who is not using an available seat belt. Passengers over age 16 who are not using
seat belts can be cited individually.
The Reasons Why We Have A Child Restraint Law
Automobile crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for young children. In California, 39 children under four were killed in traffic collisions in 1999. Only seven of the children were properly secured in safety seats. Many deaths and injuries could be prevented if every child was properly restrained.
Exceptions To The Law:
1) School buses and motor vehicles designed for more than 10 occupants. 2) emergency vehicles. 3) children for whom use of a car seat would be impractical because of physical unfitness, medical condition or size; and 4) drivers who use seat belts instead of car seats in a life-threatening emergency if the child is at least one year old.
Tips to Remember When Buying A Car Seat
- Read the label; make sure it says the seat conforms to all applicable federal safety standards.
- Choose a seat which is appropriate for your child’s weight, age, height and behavior.
- Not all models fit in all cars. Try the car seat before you buy it; be sure it fits your car’s seats and seat belts.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. A car seat can only fully protect your child if it is properly installed and used according to directions.
Buying A Safe Seat Isn’t Enough
A seat isn’t safe, unless you install it properly and use it correctly every time you transport your child. Install the car seat in the rear seat of your car. Passenger airbags are a potential danger to small children. Never place an infant or child under age 12 in the front seat of a car with a passenger airbag. Save the manufacturer’s instruction manual in a place where you can find it, for instance the glove compartment of the vehicle carrying the car seat. As your child grows, refer to the instructions to make sure you are still using the seat properly.
Different Types of Car Restraints
Infant Safety Seats
- newborns and infants up to 17-22 pounds
- babies must ride rear-facing in the back seat until at least one year of age and over 20 pounds
"Convertible" Safety Seats
- birth to 40 pounds or 40 inches in height
- baby faces rear until one year old or 20 pounds
Forward-Facing Combination Seats
- for children over one year of age
- face forward only
- can be converted to a belt positioning booster seat after child reaches 40 pounds
Safety Booster Seats
- for children over 40 pounds and under the ages of six, or weighing less than 60 pounds.
- use with vehicle's lap and shoulder belt
- use a high-back booster seat if your car's seat back is lower than your child's ears
- you can use a backless booster seat if your car's seat back is higher than your child's ears
- use regular safety belts for children over 6 years or 60 pounds. Lap belts should fit snugly across thighs and hips, not across a child’s stomach. Shoulder belts should never cross a child’s face or neck.
Considerations When Buying Used Car Seats
- Buy only seats which meet current federal safety standards. Call the Auto Safety Hotline, (800) 424-9393, for a list of car seats which have been recalled.
- Make sure the seat is in good working order or is repairable. (Many manufacturers and local stores sell parts.) Request the manufacturer’s instructions from the prior owner so you can use the seat correctly.
- Never buy a car seat which has been involved in an accident or whose history is unknown. Stress fractures to the plastic may not be visible. Always ask the seller if the car seat has been involved in an accident or collision.
BANANAS • 5232 Claremont Ave., Oakland, CA 94618 • 658-
© 1983 BANANAS, Inc., Oakland, CA. Revised 2002.
Reprinted with the permission of BANANAS, Inc. © 2007 BANANAS
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