Your Children Must Always Be in Car Seats
I constantly see kids standing up in vehicles, staring at me out the back windows or just bouncing around on an adult's lap. Don't adults know that in a collision, the body of an unrestrained child becomes a projectile, bouncing around the inside of the car? A child can be ejected from the car, through windows or the windshield and be fatally injured. Occupants of the vehicle can be injured by the child hitting their necks or heads. Sadly, so many people still have not gotten the message.
Are car seats too expensive? Or are people just plain lazy?
There are different types of car seat, usually varying depending on the size, age or weight of the child. Remember to buy a new car seat - old car seats may not have the latest safety features or may have been compromised in an accident.
Infant car seats - only face the rear; usually used in the back seat; may be used as an infant carrier and may be attachable to a stroller.
Convertible car seats - Used in the rear; when your child gets older may change into a forward-facing car seat or even a booster seat.
Booster seats - the last step before your child can safely wear a regular seat belt; used with the car's seatbelt.
It is important that you follow the manufacturer's instructions about how to attach the car seat. Also, you always want to send in the car seat's registration form, so you are notified if the manufacturer recalls the seat for any defect. If your child is wearing a heavy coat, make certain that the harness straps are tight. Make sure to tighten the straps when your child wears lesser outerwear (when the weather warms up). Some safety agencies recommend removing your child's outerwear in the car, so that the child can be fastened securely into the car seat.
Do not re-use a car seat after a serious accident - one that causes severe damage to the car. Get a new one.
Common car seat mistakes:
Placing child in wrong size car seat for his weight/size;
Placing a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of the car;
Not making sure the harness is tightened correctly;
Positioning the harness chest clip incorrectly;
Not using the latch correctly.
Not just a safety issue, it's the law. Below I summarize New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1229-c. For specific questions, consult the statute. No person shall operate a motor vehicle in this state unless:
(1) all back seat passengers under the age of four are restrained in a specially designed seat which is either permanently affixed or is affixed to such vehicle by a safety belt,
(2) all back seat passengers of such vehicle who are age four or older but under age seven are restrained in an appropriate child restraint system (+ combination lap and shoulder harness belts)
(3) all front seat passengers (a) under the age of sixteen are restrained by a safety belt; or (b) if they are under the age of four, by a specially designed seat which is either permanently affixed or affixed to such vehicle by a safety belt, or children who are age four or older but under age seven are restrained in an appropriate child restraint system (+ combination lap and shoulder harness belts)
The rule changes somewhat if: the passenger four or younger weighs more than 40 pounds, or if the car is not equipped with shoulder harness belts, or if all the lap and shoulder belts are already in use by other children in the car
No person shall operate a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by an approved safety belt. No person sixteen years of age or over shall be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by an approved safety belt.
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This section shall not apply to taxis, liveries, and buses other than school buses EXCEPT no person shall operate a school bus unless all passengers under the age of four are restrained in a specially designed detachable or removable seat, or another approved restraining device.