According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the US . In 2018, 1,038 children were killed and 190,000 were injured in crashes. Properly using car seats can help your child stay safe in an accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that:

  • “Car seat use reduces the risk for injury in crashes by 71–82% for children, when compared with seat belt use alone.
  • Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children age 4–8, when compared with seat belt use alone.”

Car Seat Stages

Rear-Facing Car Seats: These seats are used for newborns through ages 2-4, depending on your child’s size. Typically, a baby will start in a rear-facing infant seat and then trade up to a larger rear-facing seat after they outgrow the first one. The manufacturer will list specific height and weight requirements for the seat and your child should stay in it until they exceed those requirements. The seat should be used only in the backseat of the car. It features a harness and provides the maximum amount of protection.

Forward-Facing Car Seats: Children should use these car seats after they outgrow the rear-facing car seat until at least age five. They should stay in this seat until they outgrow the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements. Similar to the rear-facing seats, this seat also contains a harness to provide additional protection in a crash.

Booster Seats: Booster seats help position an older child so that the car’s seat belt will fit them correctly. Most children should stay in the booster seat until between ages 9 – 12, depending on their size.

It’s safest for your child to stay in each car seat stage as long as possible because each subsequent stage provides less protection than the one before. In addition to using the right car seat, it’s imperative that the seat is properly installed. If you want to check that your child is in the right car seat and that it is properly installed, contact the Coral Springs – Parkland Fire Department for a car seat check. To make an appointment, call them directly at 954-346-1396. Or, if you live in Sunrise, contact the Sunrise police department at 954-746-3611.

Even if you are a careful driver, you may still be involved in an accident through no fault of your own. Buckling your child into a properly-sized and installed car seat can make all the difference in their outcome from the accident.

Cutler Rader, P.L.

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References Used:
NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts. 2018 Data: Children (dot.gov). Accessed February 16, 2022.
NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts. 2018 Data: Children (dot.gov). Accessed February 16, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Child Passenger Safety | CDC. Accessed February 2, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Child Passenger Safety | CDC. Accessed February 7, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Child Passenger Safety | CDC. Accessed February 7, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Child Passenger Safety | CDC. Accessed February 7, 2022.