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Car Safety for Children

Car Safety - Checklist

Car accidents are one of the greatest dangers to your child's life and well being. The crushing forces to your child's brain and body in a collision or sudden stop, even at low speeds, can result in injury or death.

The only way to prevent these injuries is to correctly use a car safety or booster seat and seat belt every time your child is in the car. A safety seat or booster seat should be used until at least age 5, and remember that all children are safest in the back seat.

Children should NEVER be allowed to travel on a parent's
lap. It is against the law in Kuwait.

Using a car seat correctly makes a big difference. Even the "safest" seat may not protect your child in a crash, especially if it is not correctly fitted, or is inappropriate for your child. It just takes a minute to check to be sure.

Does your car have a passenger air bag?

  • An infant rear-facing seat should NEVER be placed in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger air bag.
  • The safest place for all children to ride is in the back seat.
  • If an older (e.g. >12 yr.) child must ride in the front seat, move the vehicle seat as far back from the air bag as possible and buckle the child properly.

Is your child facing the right way for both weight and age?

  • Infants should ride facing the back of the car until they have reached at least 1 year of age AND weigh at least 20 lbs (infant only seat and rear facing convertible seat).
  • A child who weighs over 20 lbs AND is older than one year of age may face forward.

Has your child grown too tall for the convertible or forward-facing seat or has your child reached 40lbs?

  • Use a belt-positioning booster seat to help protect your child until he is big enough to use a seat belt properly.
  • A belt positioning booster seat is used with a lap and shoulder belt.
    Have you tried the car seat in your vehicle?
  • Not all car seats fit all vehicles.
  • When the car seat is installed, be sure that it cannot move from side-to-side, or towards the front of the car.
  • Be sure to read the section on car seats in the owner's manual for your car.

Is the seat belt in the right place and pulled tight?

  • Route the seat belt through the correct path (check the instructions to make sure), kneel in the seat to press it down, and pull the belt tight.
  • A convertible seat has two different belt paths, one for infants and one for toddlers.
  • Check the owner's manual for your car to see if you need to use a locking clip or tether to keep the safety seat secure.

Is the harness snug; does it stay on your child's shoulders?

  • The shoulder straps of the car seat go in the lowest slots for infants riding backward, and in the highest slots for children facing forward.
  • The chest clip should be placed at armpit level to keep the harness straps on the shoulders.
  • The harness should fit snugly against your child's body. Check the instructions on how to adjust the straps.

Do you have the instructions for the car seat?

  • Follow them and keep them with the car seat. You will need them as your child gets bigger.
  • Be sure to send the registration card that comes with the car seat. It is important in case the seat is recalled.

Has your child's car seat been in a crash ?

  • If so, it may have been weakened and should not be used even if it looks all right.
  • Call the car seat manufacturer if you have questions about the safety of your seat.

Remember:

  • NEVER leave a child unattended in a car - the heat that builds up in a car, even with the windows open can kill a child.
  • NEVER allow a child to travel on your lap.
  • DO NOT PERMIT behavior, which distracts the driver - stop the car when children fight, throw things, or move around the car.
  • ALWAYS WALK BEHIND YOUR CAR to be sure that your child is not there before you back out of the driveway. You cannot see your child behind your car in the rear view mirror.
  • ALWAYS KEEP CAR DOORS LOCKED when the car is in motion.