Car crashes are a leading preventable cause of death and permanent injuries in children. SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. is a non-profit organization dedicated to child passenger safety. Its mission is to help reduce the number of serious and fatal traffic injuries suffered by children by promoting the correct, consistent use of safety seats and safety belts. The following information is provided courtesy of this organization. Visit www.carseat.org for more information.
California Buckle-Up Laws for Parents
- A child who weighs over 40 pounds and is riding in a car without lap and shoulder belts in the back seat may wear just a lap belt.
- A child under age 8 who is at least 4' 9" may wear a safety belt if it fits properly.
- Children under age 8 may ride in front if there is no forward-facing rear seat in vehicle, the child restraint cannot be properly installed in rear seat, all rear seats are occupied by other children age 7 or under, or for medical reasons.
- A child in a rear-facing safety seat may not ride in front if there is an active passenger air bag.
Having problems with your child safety seat? Don't worry, you're not alone! Visit www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/childps/CPSFitting/Index.cfm for a list of local safety seat inspection stations. Or try Safe Kids Ventura County, where you can schedule a car seat inspection in collaboration with the Ventura County Fire Department in Camarillo (Wednesdays 805.389.9748), Moorpark (Mondays 805.552.1917) and Thousand Oaks (Mondays 805.496.9035) by appointment.
Children age 8 or older may use the vehicle safety belt if it fits properly, with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thighs and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster or safety seat. (V.C. 27360.5)
According to SafetyBeltSafe, most kids need to ride in a booster seat until age 10 to 12. Using a booster instead of just a belt prevents 45% of crash injuries. If your child isn't using a booster, try the following simple 5-step test:
- Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
- Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
- Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
- Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
Answering "no" to any of these questions indicates your child needs a booster seat.
Consequences for not properly buckling up c