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Car Seat Safety – The Right Way to Secure Your Child

Young mother strapping up baby's seatbelt in the baby's car seat for safety.

According to past studies, three out of four parents have a tough time selecting the proper child safety seat for their kids. Confusion has mostly been related to age and size-appropriate car seats and boosters, which can reduce serious and fatal injuries by more than half. But, choosing the best car seat and being sure you understand how to properly secure your child to keep them safe can be difficult.

It goes without saying that there are an overwhelming number of child safety seats to pick from. And, to make the car seat issue just a bit more confusing, California Governor Jerry Brown has recently signed a new law, known as Assembly Bill 53, which states:

“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.”

The law goes into effect January 1, 2017.

Strongly supported by insurance and medical organizations, the bill was specifically written to reduce injuries to young children in car crashes. Currently, parents are required to use rear-facing car seats until the child turns one, but the new 2017 law would extend that to the age of 2, unless the weight and height exemptions are met.

Not surprisingly, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ chapters in California were very much in favor of the bill, stating that the use of rear-facing seats can decrease the head and spinal injuries of infants in collisions, because they provide the most support. In fact, according to a 2007 study published in the journal Injury Prevention, statistics showed that children secured in rear-facing car seats, were 75 percent less likely to suffer serious injury or even death when involved in an automobile accident.

What is somewhat surprising, however, is how some parents opposed the legislation, claiming:

They can see their children more easily in the rear-view mirror
They fear it will put their child’s legs in an uncomfortable position
Their babies already cry facing backward.

These reasons aside, the sad truth is – because their passenger safety seats are not installed properly when riding in the family car, thousands of children are injured or killed every year.

Proponents of the bill believe many of these deaths can be prevented – by changing the existing law and by educating the vast amount of parents who unknowingly place their children’s lives at risk every time they strap them into their vehicle.

Other things you should know about keeping your children safe, according to the California Highway Patrol, are:

Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4′ 9″ in height may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.

Finally, it’s recommended that parents who aren’t sure they’re properly securing their child in their safety seat should contact a local CHP Area Office and request the assistance of a child passenger safety technician to demonstrate the correct method.

Knowing what’s best for your child’s safety while riding in your vehicle is imperative. So is making sure you’re getting the best auto insurance rates available. Why not get a free auto insurance quote comparison today?

Do you feel you are properly securing your child in his safety seat? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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