11Not Using A Safety Seat Consistently
“We were only going to the grocery store …” “He hates to ride in his car seat, so just this once I didn’t make him …” “She was having a meltdown, so I took her out of her seat for a minute to calm her down.” Safety experts hear these words all too often from distraught parents after tragedy has struck. Remember, a one-time lapse can result in a lifetime of regret.
In any case, using a safety seat consistently and correctly is the law. All 50 states require that children up to 3 years of age (or 40 inches tall in Kentucky) ride in car seats in private vehicles, and many have laws requiring car seats or booster seats until a child is considerably older.
There’s good reason for that. Every year, tens of thousands of children are injured in car crashes, and about a thousand are killed. In fact, auto accidents are by far the leading cause of death for American children.
Safety seats dramatically reduce the risk of death or serious injury in a collision. Stephanie Tombrello, executive director of the nonprofit passenger-safety organization SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., urges all parents to get a safety seat that’s convenient to use, and to make buckling your child into it such a habit that you don’t even have to think about it.