Buckle Basics: Help Your Child With Seatbelt Safety
Pennsylvania’s 2016 “Click it or Ticket” mobilization campaign is running through June 5 in an effort to raise awareness, increase seat belt use, and save lives. At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we have seen first-hand the devastating outcomes of car crashes where passengers and drivers have failed to wear seat belts.
Buckle Up PA, a sponsor of “Click it or Ticket,” has reported that the number of traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania totaled 1,200 in 2015, the second-lowest since recording-keeping began in 1928 and five more than the record low in 2014.
It is important to understand how to properly position and fit a seatbelt to protect your children and yourself.
Car Seats and Boosters – What You Need To Know
Properly securing your child from birth to the age of 7 involves selecting the right car seat and making sure it is properly anchored in the car. Ask yourself these questions when buckling your child:
- Does the car seat or booster fit your child’s current age and size?
- Is the car seat or booster the right fit for your vehicle?
- Have you read the manufacturer’s instructions and vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat or booster using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether?
Beyond Booster Seats
Children between the ages of 8 and 14 may no longer need a booster seat. It can be difficult transitioning your child from using a booster seat to using a seat belt, but you should take this process seriously and be sure to find the proper fit for your 'tween.' Follow these pointers to check if your children are beyond booster seats:
- Are they tall enough to sit without slouching?
- Are they able to keep their back against the vehicle seat?
- Are they able to keep their knees naturally bent over the edge of the vehicle seat?
- Are they able to keep their feet flat on the floor?
In 2012, 55 percent of young adults who died in vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts. Transitioning your child from a booster seat to a seat belt can be a tough task, but once your child becomes a teen, teaching proper seat belt safety is a continual process.
These tips can help to make a difference in your teen’s life:
- Make sure they position the lap belt across their upper thighs and the diagonal belt should be across their upper chest.
- Make sure the belt fits snuggly across their body.
- Set the example by always wearing your seat belt.
- Remind your teens to wear their seat belt.
- Educate them on the importance of proper seat belt use as a driver and a passenger.
Buckling up is the most important safety measure you can take to protect your kids and yourself in a crash. Seat belts are the best defense against aggressive, impaired, or distracted drivers.