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Child Car Safety

Car accidents are the number one cause of death for children ages 1 to 12 in the United States. By choosing the properly fitted seat for your child, you could potentially save their life in a crash. The chance of death when in a car seat goes down 71 percent, which is a hugely significant decrease; therefore, Pediatrix, a state-of-the art pediatric facility with quality children’s doctors in Phoenix, urges parents to become educated on child car safety.

Because you never know when an accident is going to occur, you should strap your child in every time you travel; no exceptions. This will not only keep them safe, but will also teach them the good habit of wearing a seatbelt anytime they ride in a vehicle.

Our children’s doctors in Phoenix would like to share the following guideline to choosing a seat that is best for your child’s age, height and weight:

Newborn – 12 Months: For babies in this age group, rear facing car seats should always be used. There are 3 types of rear facing seats: infant only, convertible and 3-in-1.

Ages 1 to 3: Keeping your child in the rear facing position is the best way to keep them safe. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats have higher height and weight limits in the rear-facing position, so you can use the seat for a longer time. These types of car seats are perfect for toddlers in this age group. You should keep your child in a rear facing seat until they reach the height and weight limit listed by the manufacturer.

Ages 4 – 7: At this stage, your child can now begin using a forward facing car seat with a harness up until they reach the height and weight limit. After that, your child can be moved to a belt positioning booster seat.

Age 8 – 12: Children should remain in a booster seat until they are able to fit safely in a normal car seat belt. The lap belt should lie across the upper thighs while the shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest. If the belt is positioned at your child’s stomach, neck or face, a booster seat is still the best seating option.

As a parent, you should know when to switch out one car seat for another to make sure that your child is safe when traveling by car. Also, read all of the car seat manufacturer’s installation instructions and your vehicle’s owner manual. This will help you to properly install the car seat. In addition to choosing and installing the proper seating, all children 12 years old and under should also sit in the back seat.

Pediatrix, your local children’s doctor in Phoenix, understands the pressures of parenting and knows that you may have concerns about child car safety. Our children’s doctors in Phoenix are always available to answer any questions you may have about the health and safety of your child. Please call (602) 866-0550 or contact us online to learn more about our expert children’s doctors in Phoenix.




Subir K. Mitra, MD FAAP

Posted in Blog on December 10th, 2012