Anytime you sit behind the wheel of your vehicle, you are responsible for your safety and for the safety of others on the road and in your car. When you become a parent, your responsibility doubles as you become in charge of the safety of the children riding in your vehicle as well. Fortunately, we have the tools and resources to keep kiddos safe while in the car that were unheard of only a few decades ago. However, with all the changing recommendations and state laws, it can be hard to keep up with child restraints.
Here’s what you need to know, and to pass along to any caregiver who drives your children around.
New Illinois Law for Kids 2 and Under
A new law went into effect in Illinois at the beginning of this year regarding child car seats. Currently, all children two years old and younger must sit in a rear-facing car seat. While this practice has been recommended by pediatricians for years, it is only been Illinois law since January of 2019. If the child weighs more than 40 pounds, they can be turned around to face forward.
Preschoolers and Elementary Schoolers
When your child turns 4, if they have outgrown the height and weight limitations of the car seat, you can begin to use a booster seat. Remember, keeping your child in their five-point harness car seat is ideal as long as they meet the height and weight requirements. A booster is a safe option to keep your child safe by using the car’s seat belt. Your child can stop using the booster seat once they can sit on the car’s seat with their feet touching the floor and the seat belt lies flat along their shoulder to hip.
Information for Caregivers
You may be brushed up on your car seat safety, but others may not be. Talk to grandparents, babysitters, and other caregivers about car seat safety and your expectations. If caregivers are not sure if their car seat is installed correctly, encourage them to go to their local police station for assistance before putting your child in their car.
Driving your kids from place to place is a big responsibility. You can keep them safer when you choose to use car seats correctly.