By Rob Baquera, Public Information Officer, Roseville Police Department
With over 24 million vehicles and more than 170,000 miles of roadway, road injuries and crashes are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to California’s 8 million children. Whether you are driving your children to school or to the grocery store, the single most important safety tool for your children is their car seat. Who needs to use a car seat? Under the current California law:
– Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. The child shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat. (California Vehicle Code Section 27360.)
– Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
– Children who are at least 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height have the option to be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum (along with all adults) must be secured by a safety belt. (California Vehicle Code Section 27363.)
While many parents currently use child safety seats, research has shown that the majority of car seats are improperly installed. Here are some tips on properly installing and using forward-facing car seats.
– Use the right car seat with a harness for your toddler’s weight and height. Toddlers are weighed and measured at every doctor visit, so be sure to keep track.
– Put harnesses through the slots so that they are even with or above the forward-facing child’s shoulders. Some seats require use of the top slots when the seat is forward-facing, so check instructions.
– Be sure the buckled harness is tight, so you cannot pinch extra webbing at the shoulder.
– Adjust the chest clip to armpit level.
– Use the car’s safety belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both at the same time. Be sure to use the top tether.
– Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt path or LATCH path to test it.
If you want to double check that your child car seat is installed correctly, you can contact the Roseville Fire Department. They are currently offering car seat installations by appointment only. Residents can schedule an appointment with a Child Passenger Safety certified technician by calling (916) 772-6300.