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Q: How can I safely secure infants or small children?

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How can I safely secure infants or small children?

There are a few basic guidelines to follow that can keep infants and small children riding along in your vehicle safe from start to finish. It is legally required in every state that infants and toddlers be secured in an appropriate restraint in the vehicle. This means that a car seat is needed. Here are some tips for finding the right seat for your child and securing it safely:

  • First, make sure the restraint is approved for use in a motor vehicle. Just because it looks like a motor vehicle car seat does not mean it is one. A proper car seat will be labeled that it is made to be used in a vehicle.

  • Rear-facing car seats cannot be used in the front passenger seat. The seat will be in very close proximity to the airbag and this presents a risk to the child, even if the airbag is not active. The impact of a crash may somehow set off the airbag.

  • Front-facing car seats are used for babies and toddlers and allow them some small range of movement while still securing them in the seat. These seats can be safely used in the front passenger seat, but the back seat is still safer if available.

  • Older toddlers and young children can use a booster seat to sit at a safe height in the passenger seat.

Tips

  • Always read the manual for the car seat or booster seat carefully before installing the seat.

  • Make sure the passenger side airbag is not active if there is anyone under 12 years old in the passenger seat, as younger children may be hurt by the airbags deploying.

  • If you are not sure the car seat is installed correctly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers car seat inspections in a number of areas in the US.

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