At What Age Can A Child Use A 3 Point Seat Belt
A child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two, and then use a forward-facing car seat that is appropriate for their size. When children outgrow this type of car seat its time to move into booster seats because they are designed to be used with adult lap and shoulder belts.
Children can ride without boosters when they have reached at least 145 cm in height or at around 11 years old, whichever comes first. The three-point belt system holds them firmly but does not come across the neck so if there is an accident they will not be injured like adults might experience.
It also keeps them safe from flying through windows which could cause serious accidents while still keeping them attached to the car frame.
Can You Take A 2 Month Old On A Road Trip
When can a baby safely travel by car? Your newborn probably arrived home by car, so there are no real restrictions on road trips, other than the general reminder about immune-system development. However, everyone will probably need a break every hour or so for feedings, changings, and cuddling.
Vehicle And Car Seat Parts Explained
Every car seat needs to be installed using either the lower anchors or a seat belt to secure it in place, never both. If you choose to use a seat belt to install your car seat, pay close attention to how to “lock” your seat belt according to the vehicle’s owner manual. With a forward-facing car seat, use a tether if one is available. Before installing your car seat make sure you understand the function and location of the vehicle and car seat parts that are used in installation.
Car Seat Glossary
Used for installing a car seat using its lower anchor attachments
The lower anchors are found in a minimum of two rear seating positions in a vehicle. Each lower-anchor-equipped seating position has two small horizontal bars found in the space between the vehicle seat’s back and bottom cushion .
Used for attaching a car seat’s tether to the vehicle
Typically there are a minimum of three tether anchors in a vehicle. In sedans, these are usually located above/behind the vehicle’s back seat on the rear shelf. In some larger vehicles such as vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs, these tether anchors may be found on the back of a vehicle seat, on the floor, the ceiling, or other location.
To avoid confusing tether anchors with other hardware such as luggage tie-downs, be sure to read your vehicle’s owner manual carefully to find out where they are located in your particular vehicle.
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So What Is Actually Best Practice
When it comes to rear versus forward-facing car seats, the law states babies they must remain rear-facing until they are a minimum of six months old.
But Kidsafe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds said that did not mean they needed to be turned around immediately from that time.
“The law is very clear. Babies must be rear-facing from birth. They can move forward-facing when they reach the height marker on the seat, so all of the new standard seats from 2013-14 have had minimum height markers meaning the baby must be rear-facing if the shoulders are below this line,” she said.
She said most of the time, babies could not be turned around until they were two years old and sometimes well after that.
Two-and-a-half-year-old Rafferty Verge is the perfect example.
Her shoulders still don’t reach the height marker needed for her to be forward-facing.
Paediatrican and director of the Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll, Dr Anthea Rhodes, said it was important for children to stay rear-facing for as long as possible.
“That relates to the anatomy and the bone strength of that young child’s body,” she said.
“Children under two years of age have a large head compared to their body, and their neck is not as strong.
“You could imagine, the heavy head is thrown forward and very prone to severe injury to the neck and spine.
Crash test footage from Transurban’s Road Safety Centre at Neuroscience Research Australia shows dummies in an impact at 50 kilometres per hour.
Forward Facing Car Seat Age: When Can Babies Face Forward
What is the age a child can use a front-facing car seat? Well, in Australia that answer is both simple and confusing. Legally, your gorgeous, wonderful baby must be kept in an approved rear-facing seat until he or she is six months old, and from that point you can put them in a forward-facing seat, but you dont have to, and they can stay facing backwards if you prefer.
The question, really, is not just about car seat laws, its whether babies should start facing forwards from the age of six months, and whether their tiny little necks, in particular, are up to it .
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Heres What You Need To Know About Forward
ECE R129 seats are based on a childs height.
- When height based seats are selected, the child must travel rear-facing until they reach the age of 15 months.
ECE R44-04 are based on a childs weight.
- When weight-based seats are selected, the child may travel rear-facing until reaching a weight of 13kgs.
We recommend the use of rear-facing seats for as long as it is possible. Rear-facing seats provide significant safety benefits to a child if involved in an accident.
The law intends that children should travel rear-facing until they are 15 months old. We would recommend that this should be the minimum age for a toddler to move into a forward-facing car seat.
Infant carriers manufactured to the R44 standard are approved to accommodate children up to a weight of 13kgs. At this weight, children will be different ages. Seats manufactured to R129 standard are similar in every way except they have been subjected to additional testing and are suitable for children up to the height of 87cms . Again, children will be of different weights and ages at this height.
Please remember, despite the lack of clarity between the regulations, the law, and their intentions, it is always safer for your child to travel rear-facing. It is possible to do this up to the weight of 25kgs .
Do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team if you have any more questions.
Why The New Car Seat Recommendation Matters
This is fantastic news, says Sharalyn Crossfield, an Ottawa-based Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor. We know from statistics that kids aged 0-2 have higher injury numbers, and thats because theyre coming out of rear-facing too soon.
Theres no debate that sitting rear-facing is saferstats and crash tests have proven it over and over again. The recommendation to keep kids rear-facing beyond age two results from the need to support the young childs posterior torso, neck, head and pelvis and to distribute crash forces over the entire body, says the AAP. Developmental considerations, including incomplete vertebral ossification, more horizontally oriented spinal facet joints, and excessive ligamentous laxity put young children at risk for head and spinal cord injury.
How do rear-facing car seats address this risk? Mainly, they support a childs head, preventing the relatively large head from moving independently of the proportionately smaller neck. That said, rear-facing is safer for adults, too. Crossfield, for one, always chooses to sit rear-facing on trains because she knows that in an event of a crash, her legs are likely to absorb the impact opposed to her spine.
Other countries have already figured this out. In Sweden, for example, almost all children sit facing the back way beyond age two. Everyone does it there, says Crossfield. Its not a lawthey just all know its safer.
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What About Off The Charts Big Kids
A 95th percentile child may look stronger than his 5th percentile friend, but in a crash the bigger child is MORE at risk if hes riding forward-facing. The rigidity of bones and the strength of ligaments in the spine is likely the same in children of the same age, no matter their size. And a 95th percentile baby likely has a much larger, heavier head, which will pull forward which much more force than that of a 5th percentile child.
Convertibles with high height and weight limits, enabling rear-facing for as long as possible
What Are The Types Of Car Seats
Infant-only seats fit newborns and smaller infants best. You’ll need to buy another seat when your baby outgrows it. Infant-only seats are designed to protect babies from birth until they reach up to 35 pounds , depending on the model.
Infant car seats should always be installed to face the rear of the car. A small child is much less likely to die or be seriously injured when in a rear-facing seat. That’s because the back of the safety seat will cradle the baby’s head, neck, and torso in a crash. At this age, a child’s neck usually isn’t strong enough to support the head in a crash.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the highest weight and height limits recommended by the seat’s manufacturer. Safety experts say to do this based on a child’s size, not age. Small children can stay rear-facing until age 3 or 4.
Infant-only safety seats are convenient because they’re designed to double as carriers, chairs, or rockers when not used in the car. Many models detach right from the base, letting you leave the base installed in the car. Some can be clicked into strollers to be wheeled around. If your baby is in the infant safety seat outside of the car, never put the seat on a high surface like a kitchen counter, a dresser, or changing.
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Why Are Car Seats Important
Using a car seat, also called a child safety seat, is the best way to protect your kids when they’re in a car. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury for children. Because car seats save lives, using a car seat is the law in every U.S. state.
But keeping your child safe depends on choosing the right safety seat and using it correctly. The best car seat is the one that fits your child’s weight, size, and age, as well as your vehicle.
Here are some things to know so you can pick a seat that’s right for your child:
Babies start out in infant-only seats or convertible seats. As they grow, kids switch to forward-facing seats before moving to a booster seat. Here’s a rundown of which seat to use when.
Children With A Disability
Restraint practices outlined in the national guidelines do not cover children with a disability or other additional needs, whether these are physical, medical, or behaviours of concern.
Kidsafe recommends case-by-case assessment of these children and seat them according to Australian Standard 4370 Restraint of children with disabilities or medical conditions in motor vehicles.
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Is My Car Seat Or Booster Seat Safe To Use
- Check that your seat is approved for use in Canada. Look for the National Safety Mark on your car seat or booster seat:
- Read the labels and instructions to make sure that your child is within the age, weight, and height limits for the seat.
- Most manufacturers recommend that you replace a car seat that has been in a car crash, even a minor one. Contact your manufacturer if you are unsure.
- If you do not know the history of the seat, it may no longer be safe to use. Make sure you have all the parts, including the instruction manual.
- All car seats expire. Plastic and metal parts wear out over time. Contact the manufacturer if you are unsure when your seat expires.
- Check Transport Canadas website to see if your seat has been recalled.
- Register your childs seat with the manufacturer. They will contact you if there is a recall.
Whats Next For Older Children
Once your child reaches the maximum height and weight recommended for the convertible car seat, you can switch to a forward-facing seat with a harness. Most of these seats accommodate children up to 65 pounds.
When your child outgrows these seats, you can move them to a belt-positioning booster seat. These booster seats are designed to make sure your child can sit safely with a seatbelt. If the seatbelt is too high on a child without a booster, they can suffer from serious injury.
A child can remain in the back seat of the car in a booster until they are between eight and12 years old. If your child is on the small side, keep them in a booster in the back until they are closer to 12.
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The Issue Is Still Cloudy
Although shes excited by the AAPs new guidelines, Shapka also has some concerns. With the specific age removed, it makes it more broad for parents, she says. Age two, while potentially not as long as wed want, was an easy milestone to watch for. Im concerned that removing the number will confuse people. In other words, while the AAPs goal is to keep kids in rear-facing seats beyond age two, shes worried this could result in kids turning around sooner than ever. The onus is on parents to stay up to date and informed with issues related to their kids safety.
My 20 Month Old Is Too Big For Rear
Imagine its November and your 20-month-old has outgrown all of their winter clothes from last year. Would you not buy them new winter clothes because it will be warmer in four months? Of course you would buy them the clothes! The same should go for the car seat!
The car seat is one of the only products you will ever buy for your child that has the potential to save their life! Just like your child needs new clothes frequently, they may need a new car seat sooner than you thought. If you are in a crash, you will be relieved knowing that you gave them the best protection possible.
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Best Infant Car Seat:
The Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat and Base with Car Seat is, according to Consumer Reports, the #1 rated car seat in America for infants. This car seat is amazing for infants but does max out at 30 inches of height. It comes with inserts for newborns.
You can purchase the Chicco Keyfit infant seat on Amazon Prime right now here: .
What Does The Rest Of The World Say
We know from statistics that kids aged zero to two have higher injury numbers, and thats because theyre coming out of rear-facing too soon.
The answer to that question very much relies on who you ask, and if you happen to be Swedish, your attitude will probably shock any Aussie parent you speak to.
In Sweden, you see theres a strongly held belief that children should continue to sit facing backwards in a car – for safety reasons, not because they like to punish them – until they are four, or even six, years old, when they move into a booster seat, and face forward.
Things are also more prescriptive in the United States, where the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its guidelines, in 2018. Up until that point, its recommendation was that children should remain in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, as they will be 75 per cent safer in the event of a collision compared to sitting in forward-facing car seats.
The revised guidelines removed the age recommendation and instead state that children should remain in rear-facing seats for as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seats manufacturer.
She also pointed to Sweden as an exemplar of child safety regulations. Everyone does it there, she said. Its not a lawthey just all know its safer.
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How Do I Know My Child Is Safe In His Rear
There are several things to look for when strapping your child into his or her car seat.
- There should be at least 1 inch of car seat above your childs head. This indicates your child is still within the height limits.
- The harnesses should be at or below your childs shoulders. This keeps your child from sliding out of the seat in case of an accident.
- The harnesses should be snug check to see if you can pinch any of the harness straps between your fingers. If you can, tighten the harness more. A snug harness means less movement of your child in a crash, resulting in less injury.
- The chest clip should be at your childs armpit level. This slows your childs forward movement down in a crash, resulting in less stress on your childs neck and spine.
Did you know three out of four car seats are not used or installed correctly? Our certified car seat technicians are available to answer your safety seat questions. To schedule a car seat installation appointment, , call Sanfords Safety Center at , or email
My Child Wants To Be Forward
Even if your child’s legs are touching the seat back, or they cry when rear-facing, you should still keep your child rear-facing until they reach the rear-facing weight or height limit of the car seat. Most convertible car seats have rear-facing weight limits of 35 to 50 pounds, so most kids can ride rear-facing until age three to five. Some children never like sitting in a car seat, and they may cry. However, being properly restrained makes it more likely that a child will survive a crash to cry another day.
Many parents worry that their child will suffer broken legs or hips in a crash because the child’s legs touch the seat back or look cramped when rear-facing. In fact, there are more leg injuries when forward-facing, as the legs fly up and the feet go into the back of the front seat. As everything moves forward, compression forces into the hip and femur can break the leg of the forward-facing child.
Studies of real kids in real crashes shows that leg and hip injuries in rear-facing kids are very uncommon. When they do happen, it is in side impacts where another vehicle hits the child right where their leg is, breaking the leg. Rear-facing kids do not get hip or leg injuries from being scrunched up. In fact, during the instant of the crash, rear-facing kids become even more scrunched, with their legs pulling up into a cannonball position. This is not a cause of injury.
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