There will never come a time when car seat safety doesn’t remain imperative. But next week, the issue is of particular import due to the week’s designation as National Child Passenger Safety Week. Agencies across the nation will be observing the event, and the California Highway Patrol is no different. All around California, parents concerned about car seat installation will be able to come by a number of events set up by the agency in a bid to boost safety.
The Commissioner of the CHP commented on the various safety efforts being held around the state, explaining the need not just for car seats, but for car seats that are installed the right way and for the right age and size of the child. To that end, officers with the CHP will be holding a number of educational presentations designed to help parents stay abreast of the proper manner with which to strap a child into the car. For those parents who come by with their car seat and vehicle, they can get an inspection that will reveal any potential shortfalls in safety.
At the beginning of last year, California law was altered to reflect ongoing worries about car seat safety in the state. Not only is it unsafe to keep a child in the front seat, the measure that was passed has also made such an act illegal. Under California law, if a child younger than eight or shorter than four foot nine is in the front seat, a parent can be ticketed. The same goes for if a child isn’t placed in the proper unit rated for their age and size in the backseat.
For parents that won’t be able to make it to a CHP event, or for those who can but still want some additional assistance with installation and safety, a new report out of Arizona illuminates some precautions to keep in mind.
Parents must understand the progression of seats: rear-facing to front-facing to booster seat to back seat with seatbelt to front seat with seat belt. Four foot nine is the magic number to finally transfer a child from a booster into the main backseat, and they should grow even further before they’re allowed into the front seat. 13 is the minimum, but it may take even a couple years longer before a child should graduate to the front.
When you’re actually placing the child in the seat, make sure that it’s securely fastened. You shouldn’t be able to rattle the seat around once it’s in its place. Make sure the strap is snug against your child, leaving as little slack as possible without causing the child discomfort.