A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

What you might not know about car seat safety

Car seat safety

Pop quiz: At what age should you turn your child’s car seat from rear facing to front facing?

You’re not alone if you said, “At 1 year old.” But did you know your child is safest in a rear-facing seat until age 2?

Even if your toddler is older, knowing the latest car seat and seat belt laws and recommendations is important, said Dr. Alissa Murch, a Marshfield Clinic pediatrician.

Common car seat mistakes

“The most common mistake I see is moving kids to front facing at age 1,” Murch said. “At 1, they don’t have the bone maturity in their neck and spine to protect them in a crash if they’re front facing.”

Avoid bundling babies in jackets or blankets, which prevent a snug fit for car seat straps, and make sure the chest slider on all five-point harnesses is at armpit level.

Another common mistake is moving children out of booster seats too soon, she said.

Booster seats raise children into position so seat belts fit properly – across their collarbone rather than touching their neck.

The safest place in the car for kids younger than 13 is the back seat, where they won’t be injured by airbags if you’re involved in a crash.

Am I using the right car seat?

Having your children properly fastened in the right seats is the best way to protect them during car travel.

The chart below will help you brush up on the current laws and recommendations.

car seat infographic

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