The leading cause of death in children under 14 is not disease – it's motor vehicle accidents. One of the best ways to help protect your child is to make sure they are properly restrained whenever they ride in a car or truck.
Children require their own restraint system such as a car seat. However, national surveys show that 75 percent of children riding in cars are not restrained 100 percent of the time, and even when they are, 85 percent of them are not restrained correctly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) along with Doernbecher Children's Hospital recommends keeping children in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. Refer to your car seat owner's manual and vehicle manual to achieve correct position of your child in his car seat and for installation of the seat into your car. Never put a rear-facing car seat in front of an active frontal air bag.
Oregon Law states children under 40 pounds must ride in a car seat with a five point harness. Children over 40 pounds or who have reached the upper weight limit of their car seat's harness system, must use a booster seat until they are age 8 or 4'9". Your child may be ready for an adult seat belt when you can say "YES" to these 5 steps.
Your child can...
- Sit with their back against the vehicle seat without slouching
- Sit with the shoulder belt positioned across the shoulder and chest.
- Sit with the lap belt positioned low and sung across the upper thighs.
- Sit with knees bending at the edge of the seat when his or her bottom and back are against the back of the vehicle.
- Stay comfortable seated in this position for the entire ride.
Car Safety Guidelines
We recommend the following guidelines for keeping your child safe while in the car.
- All passengers in the vehicle should be properly restrained.
- Children should be in safety restraints appropriate for their size and age.
- All children under the age of 13 should sit in the back seat.
- Make sure the car seat is secured properly. It should not move more than one inch in any direction.
- Make sure the car seat’s shoulder harness height is at or below the child's shoulders for rear facing and at or above child's shoulders when forward facing.
- Position chest clip in middle of chest at armpit level, away from neck.
- Don’t use a car seat after it has been in an accident. Buy a new one.
- It is never safe to allow passengers to ride in the back of a pickup truck.
- Have your car safety seat checked.