Last Updated on May 15, 2014 by Jody Halsted
All parents want to know ways to keep their most precious cargo safe while traveling by car. But how do those with children make sense of all the car seat safety suggestions and laws out there?
Know the law and do your homework to see what other recommendations apply to your family before you take your tots for a spin. Specific car laws designed for child safety vary from state to state. You can visit www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/childsafety_laws.html for your state’s individual requirements; however, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are two laws that apply to most of the country:
- All 50 states require some kind of child safety seat for infants and children. Check your state for specific laws and criteria.
- All states except Arizona, Florida and South Dakota require booster seats or other form of safety seat for children who outgrow car seats but are too small to safely use adult seat belts.
While these two child safety seat laws are by no means comprehensive, it gives parents and caregivers a good start when it comes to car and child safety. The NHTSA also offers suggestions on other ways to keep your children safe while traveling by car. These may not be laws, but are important tips to follow to keep your kids safe in the backseat.
- Choose a car seat that corresponds to your child’s age, height and weight.
- Keep your child in his or her car seat for as long as is recommended.
- Register your car seat so that you receive notifications of recalls or defects.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper car seat installation. If you’re not sure you’ve properly installed it, find your nearest car seat inspector location by visiting www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm.
- Ensure children under 13 years old sit only in the backseat of the vehicle.
Keeping your kids safe is no doubt your top priority. Understanding the car laws about child safety seats and following these five tips are a great way to help better protect your littlest passengers. Another way to keep your entire family safe on the road is to request an online auto insurance quote; this ensures you have the right insurance coverage for you and all the little ones in your safekeeping.