If your child is in a car seat or on a booster, you may think they benefit from additional protection. But, improperly fitted seats are endemic and can place a child in as much danger as having no child seat at all. Here are five tips for restraining children in cars.

In the United States, 663 children aged 12 and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, more than 121,350 were injured in 2014 alone.

One study by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that, in a single year, more than 618,000 children from the ages of 0 to 12 rode in vehicles lacking the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time.

restraining children in cars

Tips for restraining children in cars

Here are some child safety seat tips.

1 Keep the Straps Tight

According to Dr. Alisa Baer, an expert on car seats, most children ride around with straps that are too loose.

She said properly secured straps don’t cause pain. Loosely fitted straps may not protect a child.

Baer urges parents to look at straps as if they are straps on a parachute. She also urges parents to remove clothing. Items like bulky clothing render safety straps less effective.

2 Keep Rear Seated Child Seats as Long as Possible

An infant seat should be rear facing. Once your child outgrows it, they can move into a convertible car seat that can be rear or forward seating.

Baer’s advice is to keep your child in a rear-facing seat until he or she is at least 2 and ideally longer.

Kids face a greater risk of leg injuries and other injuries if they are forward facing. If they are involved in a wreck, their feet may make contact with the seat in front of them, which is moving backward. The result is a compression injury, which does not happen when the child is rear-facing.

3 Know When a Lap Belt Can Be Used

In Georgia, if a vehicle is not equipped with both lap and shoulder belts or if lap and shoulder belts are being used to properly restrain other children, a lap belt can be used to restrain children if they weight at least 40 pounds.

Under Georgia law, a minor six-year-old or over must be restrained by a safety belt in a car. Passenger vehicles are defined as every motor vehicle designed to carry 10 people or less. The definition includes pick-up trucks for occupants under 18.

If you or a child has been hurt in a car crash due to the fault of the other driver, you should contact the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.