seat belts save lives Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1-13. Seat belts save lives if used properly. A vehicle safety restraint system is built into every motor vehicle and is designed to keep passengers safe in the event of a collision. But these systems are designed for adult bodies, and not for children. That is why it’s so important to know which car seats and booster seats will work best for your car and child. Here are a few steps to help choose the right seat for your little one.

When it comes to children, there are four types of car seats to consider, depending on age and size.

Rear-facing Car Seat

Are specifically designed for newborns and small babies. It’s a portable unit designed to be taken in and out of the car. Many come with bases that are attached with a seatbelt through the bottom. The seat locks into place on the base and is unlocked by pushing a clasp on the front and lifting. This is the best form of harness and seat for young babies, as it protects their bodies, heads, and spines in the event of a crash. But babies grow….and are usually ready for the next seat before their first birthday.

Infant Car Seat

The harness and tether system is used for toddlers ages 1-3 and children 4-7 years of age. The rule of thumb used to be 1yr old or 20 pounds to reposition an infant car seat to face forward. But state laws are catching up with safety concerns and many states, like Oregon, now require infants under 2 to remain in rear-facing car seats. Drivers can be issued tickets for a Class D violation for improper use of car seats. Check with your state’s Child Restraint Laws to determine compliance.

State law swill vary on when a child’s seat can be faced forward, but the safety experts say to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible—or at least until the child reaches the top height and weight limit allowed by the seat’s manufacturer. Following this recommendation may have your child facing the rear well past that first birthday. Better safe than sorry!

Booster Seats

There are 3 guidelines to go by when determining if your child is ready for a booster seat–Height, Weight, and Age. In Washington state, the Child Restraint Law says: “Children up to their 8th birthday, unless they are 4’9” tall (whichever comes first), must ride in a child restraint.” The guideline for weight is determined to be around 80 pounds and under.

Boosters are designed to lift a child up from the seat to ensure that the seat belt fits properly across their chest. The shoulder belt should never be around the neck or face. The belt portion should be snug across the upper thighs, and not the stomach.

Seat belts— There is a 5-Step Test to determine if a child is ready for a seat belt.

  1. Does the child sit all the way back against the vehicle seat?
  2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat without slouching?
  3. Does the lap belt stay on the top part of the child’s thighs, not over the abdomen?
  4. Is the shoulder belt centered on the chest and shoulder?
  5. Can the child stay seated this way for the whole trip?

If the answer is YES to all of these questions, and the child is at least 4’9” in height and 80 pounds, they are ready for a seat belt.

Finding the Right Car Seat

Always check the exact car seat manufacturer’s instructions for height and weight limits. Also check the vehicle owner’s manual for how to install using the seat belt and lower anchors and tether.   Make sure that it is installed correctly.   Get it inspected and registered to keep your child safe.

Register for Recalls and Safety Concerns

We want to do everything possible to make sure that our kids are safe.  That includes registering your car seat. It gives the manufacturer the ability to contact you in the event there is safety recall or safety notices. A postcard comes with every new car seat. Simply fill it out and mail it in. If you don’t have that card and still need to register a car seat, go to:  You can then email the registration form to:

All children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat of the car because it is safest there.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact today.