Safety is the most important part of driving, especially when transporting children. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death and injury among children. Car seats, when installed properly can reduce death and injury among children by as much as 82% versus children who only use a seat belt. Unfortunately, The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) found that 59% of car seats are currently installed incorrectly and also that thousands of vehicles are affected by car seat recalls each year.
If you are in the market for a new car seat or already have one for your child, keep these important safety tips in mind.

Car seat stages

There are different stages of car seats based on the height, weight and age of your child. Each state has different laws regarding when your child can safely move to the next stage. Be sure to review your local laws and talk to your pediatrician regarding moving to the next stage.
Stage 1: Rear-facing seats
From birth through at least age 3, make sure the car seat is rear-facing. Install the car seat base at the correct angle noted in your car seat’s guide.
Keep your child rear-facing until they outgrow either the height or weight requirements–even if that means age four or older.
Stage 2: Front-facing seats
Once your child outgrows forward-facing car seats, you can transition them to a car seat with front-facing capabilities.
Make sure these belts are secured:
• Lap belt: Snug across upper thighs, but below their hips
• Shoulder belt: Across the center of the chest
Stage 3: Booster seats
Switch to a booster seat when your child exceeds the forward-facing seat limit. This typically happens when your child is 4’9” in height and between the ages of nine and 12.
Make sure these belts are secured:
• Lap belt: Snug across upper thighs, but below their hips
• Shoulder belt: Across the center of the chest
Keep your child in a booster seat until the car’s seat belts securely do the following:
• Lap belt: Lay across upper thighs
• Shoulder belt: Lay across chest

Before starting your car

Read the manual. Each vehicle and car seat are built a little differently. Take the time to see what car seat will work for your vehicle and how to properly install it.
Keep kids in the back seat. All kids 12 and younger should stay in the back seat away from airbags that can cause additional injuries. Be sure to use the proper restraint system based on your child’s height and weight.
Avoid buckling harnesses over winter coats. Bulky coats or jackets may not secure your child the way the car seat is designed. Instead, secure them in the seat and put their coat or blanket over the straps.
Check tightness of belts and the seat. In each stage, the seat should not move more than one inch in either direction. Also, the belts should be tightened until you cannot pinch any extra strap at the shoulders.

For more information on how to keep your children safe in car seats or to have the installation of your child’s safety seat checked, please contact your local health department or fire department. You can also contact The Insurance Center and we will be happy to help point you in the right direction to get the safest information about your child’s safety seat. One of our agents can also help ensure you have the best auto insurance coverage you need for your vehicle. The less you have to worry about when hitting the road with children, the safer the ride. https://www.ticnc.com/auto-insurance/
Source: The Hanover Insurance Group