Making sure to buckle up on every car ride, whether it’s a short trip to the store or a long distance trip to grandmas, it is the most important thing a family can do to stay safe. Below are a few tips to make buckling up a part of life.
Teach children the importance of car seats and using seat belts, whether they’re riding with you or not. If you can instill this important habit at an early age, they will be more likely to buckle up when they are older and every time they are in a car.
Lead by example! When you wear your seat-belt, your kids will wear their seat-belt. Kids want to be like adults, so be a good example and buckle up for every car ride.
Inch Test. Once you have installed your car seat, give it a good tug at the base where the seat belt goes through the base. A properly installed car seat should not move more than an inch side-to-side or front-to-back. Make sure to check your car seat manual for additional information.
Pinch Test. Once you have safely secured your child in their car seat, making sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming through the correct slots of the seat. With the chest clip placed at armpit level of your child, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. You should not be able to pinch any excess webbing, if you can you will need to tighten the strap!
For both rear-facing and forward-facing car seats, make sure to use the car’s seat belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat in place. Don’t use both at the same time. Vehicles built after 2002 will have a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) System. For instructions and help on installing a car seat with seat belts in vehicles built before 2002 click here.
Kids are precious! They are safest in the back seat, so keep all kids in the back seat until they are 13 years old.