Child Passenger Safety Tips
But we need your help: First, it is imperative to never leave children alone in or around a vehicle, for any reason. It can only take a minute for one of these vehicle risks to seriously injure or kill your child. Second, we need to work together to teach children the dangers of playing in and around cars. Teaching vehicle safety will go many miles in the efforts to keep kids safe.
Seat Belt: Once seat belts fit properly without a booster seat. Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Proper seat belt fit usually occurs when children are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and age 9-12 years. For the best possible protection, keep children properly buckled in the back seat.
This can happen if you do not properly restrain your child, for example, if you let the child lie down or sleep on the vehicle seat instead of being properly restrained. Older children who are no longer in a car seat can become entangled by pulling a seat belt all the way out of the retractor or by playing with an unused seat belt.
Stage 2: Forward-facing car seat with harness Children should use a forward-facing car seat for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer. The harness straps should be snug and placed at or above the shoulder level.
When an accident happens, CHOC Children’s is ready with the only pediatric-dedicated emergency department and trauma center in Orange County. For more important tips to prevent injuries in children and teens, visit choc.org/safety.
In the span of 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees, enough to kill a child left alone in a vehicle. Children are at a higher risk than adults of dying from heatstroke in a hot vehicle, especially when they are too young to alert others for help.
Stage 1: Rear-facing car seat Facing the rear is the safest way for a baby or toddler to ride. Keep toddlers in a rear-facing convertible car seat until age 2, or until they reach the maximum weight or height for their seat. The harness straps should be snug and placed at or below the shoulder level.
Whenever you’re on the road, make sure children are buckled in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts. Children under age 13 should ride properly buckled in the back seat on every trip. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an airbag. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat.
Install and use car seats and booster seats according to the seat’s owner’s manual or get help installing them from a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. Find a Child Passenger Safety Technician.
Brake Transmission Safety Interlock (BTSI) is a system that requires the service brake to be depressed before the transmission can be shifted out of “park.” Before the introduction of BTSI, it was possible to shift vehicles with automatic transmissions "out of park." Unfortunately, this safety risk could occur even if the vehicle's engine was off or in accessory mode, the driver's foot was not on the brake, and the key was in the ignition. This often led to vehicle rollaway, particularly with unsupervised children playing in vehicles.