SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Car Seats are the best way to protect your child in your car, but a majority of car seats in Utah are not installed correctly. The Utah Department of Health has guidelines to make sure you are properly protecting your child.
- Place children in the back seat in a properly installed child safety seat or booster seat. Infants should be restrained in rear-facing child safety seats for as long as possible. Children should remain rear-facing until age 2.
- Toddlers should ride in forward-facing child safety seats in the back seat until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
- According to Utah law, children must ride in booster seats until age 8. It’s even safer to keep them in boosters until they’re 4 feet 9 inches tall, no matter their age.
- After age 8, children should always wear a seat belt. Children 12 years of age and younger should continue to ride in the back seat.
- Use the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle owner’s manual to make sure the car seat is properly installed.
- Replace any car seats that were in use during a moderate or severe motor vehicle crash (2). Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.
Safe Kids Utah suggests to look through this 15 minute Car Seat Check.
- Right Seat. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight, and height. Also, check the seat’s label to see if it has expired.
- Right Place. The safest place for children in a vehicle is the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
- Right Direction. Keep a child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When the child outgrows the car seat, move him or her to a forward-facing car seat. Use a booster seat until the child properly fits in a seat belt. In Utah, a child must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, usually between ages 8 and 12.
- Inch Test. Attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
- Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check your car seat manual to know which slot to use). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess material, the straps are tight enough.
If you would like to have your car seat checked, you can find a fitting station near you.