HOW LONG SHOULD YOUR CHILD SIT IN A CAR SEAT?
It’s that time of year again: time to get the supplies ready, meet the teacher and get back to school! Whether your child is starting daycare, preschool or kindergarten, the most important thing you need to go back to school is a child safety seat for your vehicle. It’s no exaggeration to say that a properly-fitting car seat that is appropriate for the height, weight, and age for your child can mean the difference between life and death. At Landers Chevrolet Cadillac, the safety of our customers and their families is our top priority. To make the school-day commutes safer for you and your children, we’ve made this quick car-seat guide to help you determine the right seat for your student!
You may think your elementary-school-age child is too old to sit in a car seat. However, a child simply doesn’t grow out of a car seat once they reach toddlerhood. You may be surprised to learn that it may be necessary for children to sit in a booster seat until up to age 13, or once they reach a height of four feet, nine inches. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends four stages of car seat use for children to keep them safe at every stage of growth.
Stage 1: Rear-Facing Car Seats Until at Least Age Two
Your child should sit in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat until at least the age of two.
Only when your child reaches the upper weight and height limits of the seat will they transition to a front-facing seat. The AAP recommends keeping children in rear-facing seats for as long as possible.
Stage 2: Forward Facing Car Seats with Harness Until at Least Age Five
When a child outgrows their rear-facing seat, place them in a front-facing seat with a harness and tether in the back seat. Use this car seat until children reach age five or until they reach the upper height and weight limits for the seat.
Stage 3: Use a Booster Seat Until the Seat Belt Fits
Once the child outgrows their forward-facing seat, they may graduate to a booster seat. Children should sit in a booster seat until the belt fits properly, usually when the child is at least four feet, nine inches tall. Don’t allow your child to sit without a booster seat unless they don’t need it! Depending on their development, your child may be as old as 12 or 13 when they are ready to sit without one.
Stage 4: Wear a Seatbelt and Sit in the Back Seat
Children are ready to use the seat belt when the shoulder strap crosses over the center of the chest and rests on the shoulder (not the neck), the lap belt fits low on the hips and touches the thighs, the legs can bend, and the feet can rest on the floor. Once children are wearing only a seat belt, they should sit in the back seat until at least age 13.
According to the AAP, using a car seat decreases the likelihood of death or serious injury by over 70 percent. You can’t predict when an accident will happen, but you can always do your best to be prepared. By keeping your children in the appropriate car seat and driving a safe family vehicle, you can be prepared in the event of an accident.
If you are searching for your next safe, family-friendly vehicle, then give Landers Chevrolet Cadillac a call. We have a great selection of family-friendly vehicles like the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse. The Traverse is a three-row SUV with seating for up to eight, advanced safety features like the available Forward Collision Alert and a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. Give us a call or come visit us at the store to learn more!
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