It’s Child Passenger Safety Week.

Connecticut passed new laws regarding child safety seats in July of this year, increasing the current weight and age requirements. The new laws go into effect on October 1, 2017.

Infants and toddlers must remain in a rear facing safety seat until they are 30 pounds AND 2 years old.

Children must use a five-point harness restraint until they are 40 pounds AND 5 years old.

Children must use a booster seat until they are 60 pounds AND 8 years old.

The recommendation still stands that children continue to use a booster seat as long as the booster seat’s height and weight limits allow or until they are tall enough for the adult seat belt to position correctly across their hips and collarbone rather than across their stomach and neck. Children should ride in the back seat of the vehicle until they are at least 13 years of age.

Other tips to note:

  • Check the label on your car seats to ensure that your child is still within the height and weight requirements or if it’s time to move up to forward-facing or a booster seat.
  • Check that your car seats are installed with the correct method. Some seats require switching from the LATCH installation method to the vehicle seat belt when your child reaches a certain weight.
  • Straps can sometimes loosen, so test the installation regularly. Push and pull the seat firmly at the base. It shouldn’t be able to move more than an inch in any direction.
  • With the chest clip at armpit level, try and pinch the webbing of the harness at your child’s shoulder. There shouldn’t be any excess. Same goes for installing the seat belt over a booster. Pull the latched seat belt back over your child until it sits snugly.
  • Check your seat’s expiration date. Plastics and polystyrene break down over time in the sun and in the extreme temperatures of your vehicle. Most have dates approximately 6 years from date of manufacture.
  • Any safety seat that has been in a crash should be replaced. This may be covered by your auto insurance, so ask when you submit your claim.

SafeKids CT says that when installed and used correctly, child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by up to 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for children age 1 to 4. In 2011, 98 percent of caregivers of children ages 8 and under used restraints when transporting their children. Almost half of these caregivers did not use the restraint correctly, which reduces the protection provided in the event of a crash. Only 32 percent of caregivers using rear-facing convertible car seats are very confident that they are using them correctly.
Many localities offer Certified Child Passenger Safety car seat fit checks at their police or fire departments by appointment. Visit Safe Kids CT to find a site near you.
For more tips on keeping your kids safe in the car, check out Safe Kids Worldwide.

Written by Hillside Automotive

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