Does Your Child's Car Seat Pass the Safety Test?

Does Your Child’s Car Seat Pass the Safety Test?


Hey, I’m old. We know that. My kids are in high school and college, and it’s been years since I’ve had to deal with car seats.

So this whole thing about kids facing backwards is new to me. If it’s new to you, and you have any reason at all to transport a small child, there’s some important information you can learn. And this week is the time to do it. If you are unsure about what car seat to get though, then it might be a good idea to check out something like to give you a better idea first (as there are a load of different car seats that have been designed to suit your needs). If you are still confused though, then you should keep reading.

That’s because it’s 2014 National Child Passenger Safety Week in Illinois, and the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Secretary of State, American Academy of Pediatrics – Illinois Chapter and AAA all chimed in today to offer these reminders and opportunities.

The focus of this year’s campaign is increasing awareness of the need to keep children rear facing until at least age 2. Studies show that children in their second year of life are five times less likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash if restrained rear-facing compared to forward-facing.

In fact, campaign partners are hosting a webinar for pediatricians, family practitioners and other medical personnel at noon Thursday, Sept. 18. Dr. Marilyn Bull, of the Riley Hospital for Children, will discuss the American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations for Transporting Children.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 13 years old. Based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash data, on average nearly two children under the age of 13 were killed and 338 were injured each day while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans in 2011. In Illinois, an all-time high of 94.1 percent of front-seat occupants wear seat belts and 86.5 percent of children are traveling in car seats. However, IDOT data shows that only 59.5 percent of those car seats are being used correctly.

According to manufacturer instructions, parents and grandparents are encouraged to follow NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ car seat recommendation to keep children in their specific restraint types for as long as possible. For maximum safety, a parent or caregiver should have the car seat installation inspected by a certified child passenger safety technician to ensure their children are in the right seats for their age and size.

Additional guidelines are as follows:

  1. Rear-Facing Seats: In the back seat from birth to the height and weight limit of the seat. Recommended up to 2 years old, but at a minimum age 1 and 20 pounds.
  2. Forward-Facing Seats: In the back seat when the child has reached the height or weight limit of the rear-facing seat to about age four and 40-65 pounds.
  3. Booster Seats: In the back seat from about age 4 to at least age 8.
  4. Seat Belts: At age 8 and older and taller than 4’9”.

In addition, all children, age 12 or younger, should ride in the back seat. As of Jan. 1, 2012, seat belt use is required in all seated positions.

Parents are reminded to register their car seats in order to receive important lifesaving recall updates.

For more information on child passenger safety and on statewide seat checks that are taking place Sept. 20, visit

SOURCE: Illinois Department of Transportation press release


To locate a car seat fitting station, click here.

To locate a child passenger safety technician in your area click here.


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