Child Safety Information and Resources 2019 7-39-19


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Child Safety Seat Age

Rear-facing weight limits range from 9 to 23 kg (20 to 51 lb) depending on the manufacturer and country of origin. Forward-facing limits range from 9 to 40 kg (20 to 88 lb) depending on the seat model and the manufacturer and country of origin.

Group 0+ car seats commonly have a chassis permanently fixed into the car by an adult seat belt and can be placed into some form of baby transport using the integral handle if it is the specific model. Rear-facing child seats are inherently safer than forward-facing child seats because they provide more support for the child's head in the event of a sudden deceleration. Although some parents are eager to switch to a forward-facing child seat because it seems more "grown up," various countries and car seat manufacturers recommend that children continue to use a rear-facing child seat for as long as physically possible[7]

NZ Transport Agency governs the rules and sets standards for the health and safety aspects with respect to child restraints in New Zealand. Their guidelines dictate the minimum legal requirements for a New Zealand vehicle from the safety perspective. The correct fitting of a car seat can protect individuals and can be a lifesaver. This page provides details on qualified seat installation processes and approved standardized marks to look out for in child restraints. The Agency trains and certifies NZTA certified child restraint technicians who are authorized to install child safety seats.[41]

Car Seats And Booster Seats

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.

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The purchase of a used seat is not recommended. Due to the aforementioned concerns regarding expiry dates, crash testing, and recalls, it is often impossible to determine the history of the child restraint when it is purchased second-hand.

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.[9]

A study of car crash data from 16 U.S. states found that children under the age of 3 were 43% less likely to be injured in a car crash if their car seat was fastened in the center of the back seat rather than on one side. Results were based on data from 4,790 car crashes involving children aged 3 and younger between 1998 and 2006. According to data, the center position was the safest but least used position. However, economist Steven Levitt (see below) has demonstrated that car seats do not reduce fatalities when compared to regular seat belts.[27]


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