Car Seat Safety

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Content Contributor December 12, 2018

The number one cause of death among children in the U.S. is unintentional injury with

the majority of these injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Recent studies have shown

that 20 percent of children involved in fatal crashes were unrestrained or inappropriately

restrained; 13 percent were seated inappropriately in the front seat; and 9 percent were in

vehicles where the driver was under the influence of alcohol. There are some obvious fixes to

decreasing deaths from childhood crashes – the most obvious being never transport children

while under the influence of alcohol, or any other mind-altering substance, and to always place

children in the appropriate seat of the vehicle. The safest spot for anyone under 13 years of

age is typically the middle of the back seat.

While the obvious suggestions seem easy enough to follow, properly restraining your

child is not always as easy as it looks. First, know what child seat is best for your little one’s age

and weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants and toddlers up

to 2 years of age ride in a rear-facing car seat until they have reached the highest weight limit of

the car seat. Toddlers over age 2 and preschoolers should use a forward facing car seat with a

harness until they have reached the highest weight or height set by the manufacturer. School

aged children, generally around 5 years of age, should use a belt positioning booster seat until

they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall. Seatbelts should always be used by adults (model good

habits) and children and anyone under 13 years of age should ride in the back seat.

Correct installation of any car seat can be daunting task. Review of directions provided

with the car seat can be useful as can review of your vehicle’s manual. Websites like can also be helpful when looking for

installation tips. Once installed, or even in the process of installation, having a certified Child

Passenger Safety Technician assist with the installation can be a huge help. In the Acadiana

area, there are several car seat inspection sites who have trained technicians ready to provide

free help. These sites include the Lafayette Parish Sherriff Office, the Office of Public Health,

Louisiana State Troop I, the Scott Police Department, and the St. Martin Parish Sherriff Office.

Hopefully, these tips make your car seat adventures a little less daunting!

Remember to always Buckle Up!