I'll never forget all the preparations we made in the weeks leading up to my daughter's birth. We were gifted car seats at our baby shower. I was a first-time dad-to-be, so I had no idea how to install them. One of my pre-baby tasks was to visit our local police station to have the car seats installed by a certified officer.

Looking at the car seats was intimidating. I didn't want to risk installing the car seat the wrong way and putting our baby in danger.

There are so many levels to child car seat safety, and they change so often as your child ages that it can be confusing. For example, did you know children should never wear winter coats when riding in a car?  The protective straps need to tighten around the child's body, and winter coats don't allow that to happen properly. The state recommends putting the child's coat on backwards once they are strapped in, or bringing a blanket.

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So, what exactly are the laws regarding child car safety seats?

Newborns (birth to 12 months)

  • Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing.
  • Convertible and all-in-one car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period.

1 to 3 Years Old

  • Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It is the best way to keep the baby safe.
  • Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.

4 - 7 Years Old

  • Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether, it is time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.

8 - 12 Years Old

  • For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach.
  • The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not across the neck or face.
  • Remember - your child should still ride in the back because it is safer there.

 Car Seat Check

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, Fun 107 will be at Pinnacle Auto Sales from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to host a car seat safety check. It will take place at 1421 Cove Road New Bedford. We will have certified car seat specialists to make sure your child is in the correct car seat and that the seat is installed correctly.

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