Ask the Expert: Car Seat Safety - How Effective are Car Seats at Protecting Your Child?

Ask the Expert - Car Seat Safety

Installing car seats correctly is best defense to protect your baby or child during a crash. Lindsay Curtis, a registered nurse at Primary Children's Unit at Riverton Hospital stopped by KUTV to answer questions about car seat safety.

How effective are car seats at protecting your baby or child?

• Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.

• Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States.

What percent of car seats are installed incorrectly?

Three out of four car seats are not used or installed correctly.

What is one common car seat mistake that can have serious consequences?

Babies and toddlers should be in a rear facing car seat until age two

• Turning your child forward-facing too early (based on height, weight, age) makes them 5x more likely to sustain an injury in a crash.

• This recommendation was announced in 2011, but many parents and grandparents are still not aware.

What are the weight and age requirements for rear-facing car seats?

A baby’s first car seat is rear facing and used for babies 5 to 40 pounds.

What are the weight and age requirements for forward-facing car seats?

After age two and when a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat by weight or height, move them to a forward-facing car seat with a harness and use the top tether.

Booster seat. Once your child has outgrown the forward-facing seat with a harness, move them to a booster seat. It raises the child so the car’s adult lap and shoulder seat belt fits over your child correctly. All children should ride in a booster until 4’9” tall. Age can vary greatly, some children could still need a booster seat at the age of 10 or 11.

When can a child ride in the front seat?

No kids in the front seat until age 13

Are car seats certified as safe? What should consumers look for when buying a car seat?

• All car seats sold on today’s market have been safety tested and must meet standard safety requirements.

• Before you buy, read the label. Look for the weight, height and age limits to make sure the car seat is right for your child.

• Make sure the car seat is the right fit for your vehicle.

When is a car seat too old to use?

• Expiration dates can range anywhere from six to 10 years or more.

• Check your particular car seat. Expiration dates are either on your car seat label or imprinted on the plastic part of the car seat.

• Used or expired car seats can be dangerous.

• When you throw away an expired or unsafe car seat, take it apart and put the pieces in separate dark trash bags to prevent someone else from using an unsafe car seat.

When and where can you get a free car seat check

At the Primary Children’s Outpatient Clinic at Riverton Hospital

4th Monday of every month from 2-5pm, or by appointment.

Can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to make appointment, 801-285-2470

Online resources on car seat safety (Statistics above taken from these websites). & - link to recall list of all car seat manufacturers used by CPS techs American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) – recommendation to keep rear-facing until 2 or longer based on height/weight requirements of the seat and riding in a booster seat until 4’9” tall.