Everyone in a vehicle needs protection! This includes infants and all other children. Neither the distance traveled nor the age and size of the traveler changes the need, for everyone, to use safety restraints. In fact, the law in every state in the United States and in every Canadian province says children up to some age must be restrained while in a vehicle.
Warning: Children can be seriously injured or strangled if a shoulder belt is wrapped around their neck. The shoulder belt can tighten but cannot be loosened if it is locked.
The shoulder belt locks when it is pulled all the way out of the retractor. It unlocks when the shoulder belt is allowed to go all the way back into the retractor, but it cannot do this if it is wrapped around a child's neck.
If the shoulder belt is locked and tightened around a child's neck, the only way to loosen the belt is to cut it.
Never leave children unattended in a vehicle and never allow children to play with the seat belts.
Every time infants and young children ride in vehicles, they should have the protection provided by appropriate child restraints. Neither the vehicle's seat belt system nor its airbag system is designed for them.
Children who are not restrained properly can strike other people, or can be thrown out of the vehicle.
Warning: Never hold an infant or a child while riding in a vehicle. Due to crash forces, an infant or a child will become so heavy it is not possible to hold it during a crash.
For example, in a crash at only 40 km/h (25 mph), a 5.5 kg (12 lb) infant will suddenly become a 110 kg (240 lb) force on a person's arms. An infant or child should be secured in an appropriate restraint.
Warning: Children who are up against, or very close to, any airbag when it inflates can be seriously injured or killed. Never put a rear-facing child restraint in the front outboard seat. Secure a rear-facing child restraint in a rear seat. It is also better to secure a forward-facing child restraint in a rear seat. If you must secure a forward-facing child restraint in the front outboard seat, always move the front passenger seat as far back as it will go.
Child restraints are devices used to restrain, seat, or position children in the vehicle and are sometimes called child seats or car seats.
There are three basic types of child restraints:
The proper child restraint for your child depends on their size, weight, and age, and also on whether the child restraint is compatible with the vehicle in which it will be used.
For each type of child restraint, there are many different models available. When purchasing a child restraint, be sure it is designed to be used in a motor vehicle. If it is, the restraint will have a label saying that it meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. The restraint manufacturer's instructions that come with the restraint state the weight and height limitations for a particular child restraint. In addition, there are many kinds of restraints available for children with special needs.
Warning: To reduce the risk of neck and head injury in a crash, infants and toddlers should be secured in a rear-facing child restraint until age two, or until they reach the maximum height and weight limits of their child restraint.
Warning: A young child's hip bones are still so small that the vehicle's regular seat belt may not remain low on the hip bones, as it should.
Instead, it may settle up around the child's abdomen. In a crash, the belt would apply force on a body area that is unprotected by any bony structure. This alone could cause serious or fatal injuries. To reduce the risk of serious or fatal injuries during a crash, young children should always be secured in appropriate child restraints.