Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. But many of these deaths can be prevented with the use of child safety seats or booster seats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to New York State law, any child younger than 4 must ride in a federally approved child safety seat that is properly secured by a safety belt or a universal child restraint anchorage system. All children younger than 8 years old must be secured in a child safety seat restraint system. This includes safety seats, harness vests, and booster seats attached via safety belts.
When choosing a car seat, you’ll need to consider your child’s age, weight, and height. The CDC recommends:
- Birth to 2. Buckle children in a rear-facing seat until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of the seat.
- Age 2 up to at least age 5. Use a forward-facing child safety seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seat, they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of that seat.
- Age 5 up until seat belt fits properly. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a booster seat until seat belts fit properly. The recommended height for proper seat belt fit is 57 inches tall.
- 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).
- Keep children ages 12 and under in the back seat.
- Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an active air bag.
Montefiore Nyack Hospital's New Moms Circle support group meets monthly to discuss topics of interest for mothers with infants and toddlers (ages 0-18 months). Spanish speakers are welcome. The group discussion is led and facilitated by a registered nurse and a lactation consultant who works with The Maternity Center and The Prenatal Center at Montefiore Nyack Hospital.