Child Passenger Safety
Ohio’s Child Restraint Laws require children who are either or both less than 4 years of age or less than 40 pounds be restrained while in a motor vehicle. Although installing and utilizing a car or booster seat seems simple, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 74 to 90 percent of car and booster seats are not installed correctly or are misused. Caregivers should follow these guidelines to keep children safe:
- Infants and toddlers under age 2 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. This provides more protection for a child’s head, neck and spine.
- Children 2 years or older who have outgrown his or her rear-facing seat should use a forward facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible-up to the highest weight or height limit allowed by the manufacturer.
- Children 4 years or older whose weight and height is above the forward-facing limit should use a belt positioning booster seat with a lap and shoulder seat belt.
- Children who have reached 4’9” and are between 8-12 years old may be ready to use a seat belt with shoulder strap without the booster. The child should be able to sit all the way back with knees bent over the edge of the seat.
There are also best practices in car seat selection and installation that can be utilized to keep children safer. The NHTSA and the National Child Passenger Safety Board and Safe Kids Worldwide have developed and oversee the process to certified individuals in child passenger safety. Lt. Donna Holden and Kate McLaughlin of The Euclid Police Department are now certified technicians for national child passenger safety. Technicians educate caregivers on best practices, help identify best car seat selection and location, and model correct installation and harnessing. Technicians have access to information on recalled seats and can help caregivers determine if LATCH systems or seat belts work better for their needs. The goal is to have the caregiver install the car seat or booster and harness the child correctly every time.
For more information on child passenger safety go to: www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats. Contact the EPD Community Policing Unit at 216-289-8449 with any questions you may have about car and booster seat safety for your child.
I am the Community Policing Specialist at the Euclid Police Department.