Child Passenger Safety Awareness
Today, more parents and caregivers than ever before secure their kids in child safety seats. According to the Data from the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), show an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraint systems from 1975 to 2008.
But amid this good news is an alarming fact: too many parents still don't use the full range of child safety seats, especially booster seats. Safety experts strongly recommend that children should not be moved into regular seat belts until they are at least four feet, nine inches (4' 9") tall, weigh about 80 pounds, and are approximately eight years old. And DC law now requires booster seats for children up to age 8. Yet, booster seat use for children ages four to eight is still less than 10 percent nationally.
As part of Buckle Up America, the Metropolitan Police Department encourages all parents and caregivers to know about and follow the law, to acquire and use age-appropriate child safety restraints, to have their child safety seats inspected, and to follow the four essential steps to protecting children in motor vehicles. The four steps to protect your children as they grow older are listed in the steps below. Remember to have safety seats inspected on a regular basis. Seat belts can seriously injure or kill small children who are not properly placed in child safety seats.
Agewise Car Safety
- Step 1: Infants Birth to 1 year (or up to approx. 20 lbs) - Use a rear-facing car seat.
- Step 2: Toddlers 1-4 years (20-40 lbs) - Use a forward-facing child seat, or convertible car seat.
- Step 3: Younger Children Younger children (40-80 lbs and up to 4’9”) - Use a belt-positioning booster seat (high-back or booster without a back).
- Step 4: Older Children Children 8 years or older, weighing more than 80 pounds and taller than 4’9” - Use a seat belt. Be sure the child is large enough for a correct fit.
Protect your children by following each step as they grow older. And remember to have their safety seats inspected on a regular basis. Seat belts can seriously injure or kill small children who are not properly placed in child safety seats.
So buckle up DC—every child, every time. It's the law in the District of Columbia, and it's just good safety sense.
- Child Restraint Law in DC
- DC Car Seat Fitting Stations
- NHTSA Fitting Stations
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- National Safe Kids Campaign
- Caregivers Guidebook to Protecting Children in Motor Vehicles [PDF]