One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your kids safe. Especially when riding a car.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children under 13 years old. That’s probably why some of the laws are being modified.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said kids should stay in a rear-facing car seat until they reach weight and height limit on the car seat. It no longer depends on age; same goes for booster seats.
When it comes to riding in the front passenger seat, it is suggesting for kids to be 13 years of age or older. A good test to see if your kids fit in the front seat passenger is to make them sit in it and make sure their feet touch the floor.
Additionally, when it comes to staying safe on the road, picking the right car seat is key.
“Choose a seat that is going to work as long as possible for height and weight,” Amy Bollen said, assistant public education specialist at South Trail Fire & Rescue. “It’s going to fit the needs of that child, it’s going to fit your car correctly.”
You are able to check the rating of your car seat by visiting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website .
Proper installation is the next important step. When you are installing the car seat, a good rule of thumb is making sure it is “part of the vehicle.” It seems that installing a car seat is easy, but it is more than just strapping the seat in the car with a seat belt. For instance, finding the lower anchors can be difficult to find for some.
“Vehicle manufacturers and car seat manufacturers have identified that and they are working on making that better," Bollen said.
In cars where getting to the lower anchor is impossible, the next best option is securing the car seat with a regular seat belt. The tether anchor is also an important part of the front facing car seats. Having it installed correctly will prevent head or neck injuries in a car crash.
Also, a five-point harness type of car seat will hold your child in five different places and will make sure your little one is strapped in snugly.
If you just installed a car seat or need help installing or using one, you can get help at a car seat inspection station near you. At these stations, certified technicians will take a look at your car seat and inspect if you have installed it correctly. It's free for these certified technicians to inspect your car seat and in most cases, they will show you how to correctly install and use it.
There are two car seat inspection stations in Fort Myers:
South Trail Fire and Rescue
2112 Crystal Dr.
Fort Myers, FL 33907
Golisano Hospital of Southwest FL
9981 South Healthpark Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33908
In Cape Coral there are only one car seat inspection stations:
Cape Coral Hospital
636 Del Prado Blvd South
Cape Coral, FL 33990
To find a car seat inspection station near you-you can visit the National Highway Safety Administration website .