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June 5, 2012 > Seat Belts save children's lives

Seat Belts save children's lives

Submitted By Newark PD

Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death of children in the country. Sadly, more than half of the children who die in collisions are not properly restrained in child safety seats or are unrestrained altogether. Many of these children would be alive today if they had been properly restrained in seatbelts or child safety seats. Studies have shown that child safety seats are 71% effective in saving the lives of children involved in vehicle collisions. Additionally, parents need to be reminded to use a booster seat for their children.

Generally, children who have outgrown child safety seats with built-in harnesses are still too small to benefit from the protection of an adult seatbelt. Booster seats allow children to sit up comfortably in the passenger seat while providing the proper restraint of a standard seatbelt. Children should never be placed in a safety seat in the front of a vehicle. All children age 12 and under should be properly restrained in the back seat.

Choosing and Using Car Safety Seats

Infants (Birth to 12 Months): Choose an infant safety seat or convertible seat. The baby must face back of car. Ensure strap slots are at or below shoulder level and the baby's head does not fall forward. Harnesses should be adjusted snugly before adding blankets. The baby's head should be placed at least 1" below top edge of seat. All seats need to be placed in the back seat

Toddlers and Young Children (12 months to 8 years):

Choose a convertible seat or combination seat/booster (some newer vehicles contain built-in safety seats and harnesses). Children may face forward after age one and 20 pounds. Children should sit upright with strap slots at or about shoulder level. Top strap slots must be used for most convertible seats and a top tether strap should be used, if possible. Your child must be secured in the back seat only.

Children who have outgrown the booster or harness safety seats and are at least eight (8) years can use the safety belt restraints inside the vehicle. However, children need booster seats until they can sit all the way back with their knees bent at the edge of the seat, with the lap belt on the tops of their thighs, and with the shoulder belt centered on the shoulder and chest areas.

Law Regarding Child Passenger Safety

Beginning January 1, 2012, children under age eight (8) must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat in the back seat. In addition, children age eight or older who are not tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly must ride in a booster or car seat. The previous law required that children remain in a booster seat until the age of six (6) or until they weighed sixty pounds.

A child fits an adult seat belt when:

* The child can sit against the vehicle seat back with his knees bent without slouching, and can comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip.

* The lap belt is low on the hips touching the upper thighs.

* The shoulder belt crosses the shoulder and chest without touching the face or the neck.

* Never let your child put the shoulder belt behind his arm or back. In a crash, the child could sustain major injuries including head and spinal cord injuries.

* If the child is placing the shoulder belt behind them, this is a sign that he may still need a booster.

For more information about car seats, the new law or help in determining if your child still needs a booster seat, visit the California Department of Public Health website at

It is the responsibility of every uniformed officer to enforce violations of the California Vehicle Code, educate citizens on the importance of traffic safety and make every effort to protect drivers on City streets. These efforts, combined with the participation and cooperation of community will help ensure the safety of motorists throughout the City.

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