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Car seat safety tips to keep young kids safe

Car seats can help prevent injuries to young children during a car accident. Many parents know the benefits of using car seats, and as vehicles become safer, fewer children are being killed in car crashes in the United States. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that between 2002 and 2011, fatal accidents involving kids 12 and younger declined by 43 percent.

Even though the number of children involved in fatal crashes has declined, more than 9,000 young children were victims of car accidents in the U.S. during that time period, according to the CDC. This finding is troubling, and many parents are probably wondering what they can do to keep their kids safe in the car. 

Many injuries and fatalities can be prevented by using car seats and booster seats correctly. Did you know that Massachusetts requires all children to use a seat belt in the car? The state also requires booster seats to be used until a child turns 8 or they are more than 57 inches tall. 

What else should parents know about car and booster seats to prevent serious injuries and fatalities in the event of a car accident? Listed below are some tips parents should keep in mind the next time they are driving with their young kids:

  • All kids 12 and under should be sitting in the back seat with their seat belts on. 
  • Until they are 2, infants and toddlers should be placed in rear-facing car seats unless they are too big to fit in them. 
  • Make sure straps on car seats are not loose. Straps need to be tight and babies should not have straps placed over bulky clothing like winter coats.
  • Make sure car seats are installed tightly and according to the directions. 
  • Do not add padding or toys to car seats. Toys can fly out during a crash and cause an injury.

Parents should follow these tips to help keep their children safe if they are ever in a car accident. 

Source: Boston Globe, "Which car seat mistake are you making?" Claire McCarthy, Feb. 5, 2014

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