Are You Car Safety Savvy?

Jan 28, 2016

Patsy Giarda, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Car restraint safety is a topic discussed at every well child check up we do at Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care. At these appointments we review and give anticipatory guidance for the type of car seat your child should be secured in. Because our parents often have questions regarding car seat safety, we listed some information and resources to help keep your “back seat co-pilot” safe!

Automobile accidents remain the leading cause of fatality for children ages 1-12 years old. Not only must children be restrained for every car ride, they must be restrained properly. Car seats need to be installed correctly to be functional and effective in protecting the child. Every parent should have a child’s car seat inspected periodically to check for proper installation and fitting. Car seat technicians are specially trained individuals capable of installing all types of car seats with consideration to the make and model of the car. Click here to find a certified car seat technician in your area.

Five Things You May Not Know About Car Seat Safety:

1) Children should remain rear facing in the car seat until 2 years old or as long as manufacturer size limits will allow. This is a newer recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help reduce the potential for neck and spinal cord injury from the whiplash in the event of a sudden stop.

2) A child should be restrained in a forward facing harnessed car seat until 5 years old, or they reach the upper weight or height limit as directed by the car seat’s manufacturer.

3) Until a child reaches 4’9’’ in height and 8 years old, a child should be secured in a booster seat always placed in the back seat. Once a child reaches 4’9’’ and 8 years old, they must remain seat belt restrained in the backseat until 13 years old.

4) If you’ve been gifted with a car seat, before installing, check to make sure the car seat hasn’t been recalled. This also goes for a car seat that you may be reusing a year or two later for another child. All car seat recalls are registered and can be checked here:

5) As the weather turns colder, we begin to bundle up children in layers and winter coats. New reports have shown that children buckled into car seats while wearing coats, allow extra space between their bodies and the straps. During crash testing, the extra space between a child and the seat straps, put children at increased risk to slide out of the car seat if an accident occurs. Never place your child in the car seat wearing bulky clothing. More information can be found here: