Make sure all children are secured properly when you drive with them. They are almost always safer when riding in the back, in a car seat that is appropriate to their age and weight. Using a car seat correctly can prevent injuries, a small mistake in how the seat is used can cause serious injury in a crash.
Do not use a car seat if any of the following apply:
To find out if your child safety seat has been recalled, you can call the Auto Safety Hotline ( 888-DASH-2-DOT ). If the seat has been recalled, be sure to follow the instructions for the recall or to get the necessary parts.
For more information about infant or toddler car seats, go to the Web site of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Also check out the National SafeKids Campaign which offers a free Child Car Seat Locator that allows you to enter your child’s age and weight, and get back a list of recommended car seats.
Keep your child in a car seat for as long as possible. When he or she is big enough, make sure that seat belts in your car fit your child correctly. The shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder, not the neck or throat. The lap belt must be low and flat across the hips, not the stomach. The child’s knees should bend easily over the edge of the vehicle seat. Seat belts are made for adults. If the seat belt does not fit your child correctly, he or she should stay in a child seat until the belt fits properly.
Never tuck the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind his or her back and use lap belts only as a last resort. Try to get a lap-shoulder belt installed in your car if it doesn’t already have one. If you must use a lap belt, make sure it is worn tight and low on the hips, not across the stomach.
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