Child Passenger Safety Seat System
Most convertible seats in the U.S. have at least a 16 kg (35 lb) rear-facing weight limit, most now to go to 18 kg (40 lb), some 20 kg (44 lb) and a few 23 kg (51 lb). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children remain rear-facing until they outgrow their convertible seat, regardless of how old they are. Children can remain in a rear-facing seat until they have either outgrown the weight limit for their seat, or the top of their head is within 25 mm (1 in) of the top of the shell of the car seat.
'Infant carrier' means a restraint system intended to accommodate the child in a rearward-facing semi-recumbent position. This design distributes the restraining forces over the child's head and body, excluding its limbs, in the event of the frontal collision.
Illinois Law – The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act references any person transporting a child in this State, under the age 8, in a non-commercial motor vehicle. Such person shall be responsible for the protection of such a child by properly securing him or her in an appropriate child restraint system. (Note: to read the complete Act reference Illinois Complied Statues (625 ILCS 25/))
Like motorcycle and race car helmets, child restraints are tested for use in just one crash event. This means that if the restraint is compromised in any way (with or without the child in it), owners are strongly suggested to replace it. This is due to the uncertainty with how a compromised child restraint will perform in subsequent crashes.
Belt positioning boosters should only be used with both the lap and shoulder belt across the child. The shoulder belt should be snug against the child’s chest, resting across the collarbone. The lap belt should lay low across the child’s upper thigh area.
The responsibility for children under the age of 16 using restraints or safety belts correctly rests with the driver. In Queensland, penalties for drivers not ensuring that passengers under the age of 16 are properly restrained involve a fine of A$300 and three demerit points. In Victoria the penalty is a fine of A$234 and three demerit points. Possible suspension or cancellation of license may also apply.
Parents should not put children into safety seats with thick winter coats on. The coat will flatten in an accident and the straps will not be snug enough to keep the child safe. An alternative would be placing a coat on the child backwards after buckling the child in.
Children over one year of age and at least 20 pounds, may ride in a forward-facing child safety seat in the back seat. Children should ride in a safety seat with full harness until they weigh about 40 pounds or the maximum weight limit for the harness. The weight limits for the harness use is printed on the label located on that particular seat.
All child restraints must meet the standards set by the NZ Transport Agency. There are different marks to indicate this approval from the safety perspective. Approved marks/symbols are shown in the table below: