Category Archives: Car Seat Safety

When Can Kids Sit in Front Seat in NY?

Different states have different laws regarding when a child can sit in the front seat. Many states have laws based on height, weight or age so it is important to check the law in your state.

New York State does not have a law preventing kids from sitting in the front seat but it is highly recommended that all kids 12 and under ride properly restrained in the back seat.

The child passenger safety law in NY states that children must be at least 4 feet 9 inches in order to use the vehicle’s seat belt. If your child has outgrown their child safety seat but is too small to use an adult seat belt safely, he must use a booster seat.

Car Seat Recommendations

  • To maximize your child’s safety, keep him in the car seat for as long as possible, until the child reaches the height and weight requirements set by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Your child should ride in the back seat at least through age 12.
  • Keep your child in a booster seat until he is big enough to fit in an adult safety belt properly. The seat belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and across the upper thighs
  • The shoulder belt should not be under your child’s arms or behind his back. If the shoulder belt does not fit properly, he may need to use a belt-positioning booster seat.

When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seat?

The safest spot for anyone in a vehicle is the middle of the back seat. Children, regardless of age, should especially ride in the back seat for as long as possible. Many states have laws for when a child can ride in the front seat, based on height, weight or age so it is important to check the law in your state.

Front Seat Requirements

States that use height as a requirement usually state 4 feet 9 inches as the minimum height to sit in the front seat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, no child under the age of 13 should sit in the front seat.

The Dangers of Riding in the Front Seat

When a child rides in the back seat rather than the front, his risk of injury in an accident reduces by a third. In a head-on crash, which is the most common and deadliest type of collision, a child riding in the front seat can be thrown into the vehicle’s dashboard or even through the windshield. There’s also a greater risk of being hurt by objects thrown into the car if he’s sitting in the front rather than the back.

In addition, air bags, designed to protect front seat passengers, can cause severe injuries to children if they inflate. According to the Auto Safety Expert website, if a child is below the height requirement, the inflating airbag can hit him in the face, chest, head, or neck at speeds of 90 – 210 miles per hour. More than a hundred children have been killed by air bags in recent years nationwide. Many of those deaths were actually in slow-speed collisions that should have been minor. Air bags pose a huge risk to infants and toddlers in rear-facing car seats because the back of their car seat is very close to the car dashboard.

Car Seat Safety

It is typically safer for a child of any age to ride in the back seat of any car. However, if your back seat only has lap belts and no shoulder restraints and your child uses a booster seat, he is actually safer in the front seat than in the back seat. If you have to transport multiple children, the youngest child should ride in the back seat.

In spite of all the dangers, if you have to let your child under the age of 13 ride in the front seat, make sure he uses both the shoulder and lap belts. The lap belt needs to fit low across his pelvis and the shoulder belt should not cut across his neck. The shoulder belt should never be behind his back. Move the seat back away from the car dashboard as far as possible. Also, disable the front seat passenger side’s airbag. If your car does not have a switch to turn off the airbag, you can get one installed.

Recaro Car Seat Recall

After recent testing, the car seat manufacturer, Recaro, found that a particular batch of its fix base – used primarily on the Optia child seat and the Privia infant carrier – did not meet certain safety standards. Recaro has issued an urgent product recall.

Recaro says the fix bases went through “rigorous testing” that is a higher level than the UN approval standard, but results found that on the Optia car seat, the hooks connecting the Recaro fix base and the car seat became deformed. If carrying a lot of weight, this deformation could cause the seat and the base to separate from each other.

recaro-recall

Recaro Car Seat Base Being Recalled

Is your car seat recalled?

The affected batch is those with the serial numbers ER01000000, up to and including ER01017825. No other Recaro fix bases are affected.

To check to see if your car seat is recalled, enter your serial number on the Recaro Child Safety website. You can find your serial number on a sticker located on the underside of your Recaro fix base.

Recaro is offering a free fix base replacement to parents who have one of these recalled products. If your fix base matches with the serial numbers above, contact Recaro Child Safety to exchange the product.

Although the tests were conducted on the Optia car seat, Recaro recommends replacing the fix base if it’s used with the Privia car seat, as well as the Optia. Customers can find more information on the replacement program on Recaro Child Safety’s website.

How safe is your car seat?

Even if you do not own a Recaro car seat, you should still find out if there has been any recall for the car seat that you own that you may not be aware of. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem at no cost. If your child’s safety seat was recalled, get it fixed right away. Although some defects are minor, some are quite serious. All problems should be corrected as soon as possible. You do not want to risk the chance of possibility injuring your child.

You can find out by calling the manufacturer or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 888-327-4236. Make sure your car seat has a label with the model number and date of manufacture so that you can check to see if the seat has been recalled.

Every car seat is different, so always read the user guide and check the expiration date stamped on the plastic. Most car seats last between 5-9 years after they were manufactured, not when they were bought.

Check your car seat to see if there are any defects, such as cracks on the plastic. Make sure the car seat you are using has never been used in a crash. If you are using a used car seat from a friend or relative, find out about its history. Ask them for a detailed instruction booklet, or order it from the manufacturer if they do not have it, and make sure that the seat is not missing any parts. Ensure that you installed the car seat properly and are using it correctly.

It’s also helpful to know your state’s child car seat laws and ensure that you are doing everything possible to keep your child riding safe!

Installing a Car Seat

Some people may think that installing a baby car seat is easy as long as you can read the instruction manual and follow directions. In reality, it is not so easy. In fact, research shows that about 70-80% of children are actually improperly restrained. Even the LATCH system (lower anchors and tethers for children) isn’t foolproof. Found in most cars manufactured after September 2002, the LATCH system was designed to make installation easier without the use of seat belts, but it still isn’t compatible with certain vehicles.

Installing your baby car seat correctly is imperative because, if installed incorrectly, the car seat’s effectiveness to prevent injuries is reduced.

How do I know if my car seat is installed correctly?

Installing a baby car seat can be a challenge. One of the most common mistakes is when the car seat does not fit snugly in the vehicle. The seat shouldn’t be able to move back and forth or side to side more than one inch in any direction. Chest clips should not ride too low and should be at the level of your child’s armpit. Also, check to make sure that the harnesses are not too loose or are twisted.

Read your car seat and vehicle manuals thoroughly to make sure you understand how to install the seat. If any of the information isn’t clear, call the automaker, the car seat manufacturer, or both. Sometimes, you can find videos online on how to install your car seat.

Below are some additional car seat safety guidelines:

  • Use the proper child safety seat for a child’s current size and age.
  • Install the child car seat in the correct direction (rear facing, forward facing).
  • Secure and tighten the car seat’s harness and crotch straps. To know if a car seat’s harness is tight enough, it must pass the pinch test. If you can grasp any of the harness material and pinch it between your fingers, it’s too loose.
  • Check the safety seat’s instructions for the recommended angle of recline. If the car seat has a level indicator, use it to adjust the seat’s recline (usually between 30 to 45 degrees).
  • Install the child car seat away from the vehicle’s air bags (child is safest when seated in the back seat of vehicle). Do not install the car seat in the front passenger seat with an active air bag.
  • Use the LATCH system if possible. The LATCH system is designed to make the installation of a car seat safer by attaching the seat directly to the vehicle’s anchors instead of using the seat belt to secure the seat.
  • If you’re not using LATCH, make sure the car’s seat belt is threaded through the correct slots. Pull the belt as tight as you can so there’s no slack. Once you’ve buckled the belt, double check to make sure it’s locked.
  • Make sure the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly across the child when using a booster seat.
  • Do not use a defective or broken child seat. Look at the car seat label for the date it was made and its expiration date.
  • After you buckle your child in the car seat, tug on the straps to make sure they’re secure.

Placement of Car Seat

Car seats for infants should be installed in the rear-facing position. The safest position is in the center of the backseat. Keep your child in the rear-facing position for as long as possible – until age 2, or when your child reaches the rear-facing height and weight limits indicated on your car seat. Once your baby outgrows the rear-facing position, he can sit facing forward. Read more on the different types of car seats.

Car Seat Technician Near Me

If you have questions or need help installing your car seat, ask a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST). The National highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website has a listing of child safety seat inspection stations for each state. Certified technicians will inspect your child car seat, in most cases, free of charge. They will show you how to correctly install the car seat and use it.

Safe Kids also offers free child passenger safety events where technicians will teach you everything you need to know to make sure your car seat is fitted and installed correctly. Safe Kids hosts thousands of events across the country, including car seat check-ups, educational workshops and other community events. If you are unable to attend any of those events, you might still find a certified car seat technician who can help. You can call Safe Kids toll-free customer service line at 877-366-8154 if you have any additional questions.

If you are going to schedule an appointment, try to make one at least one to two months prior to your baby’s due date just in case you deliver early. Many CPS technicians require appointments several weeks in advance.

Important Safety Reminders:

  • Be a good role model. Make sure you always wear your own seat belt. This will help your child develop a habit of buckling up.
  • Make sure that anyone who will be driving your child uses the correct car seat and knows how to buckle in the child correctly.
  • Always read and follow your car seat manufacturer’s instructions. Not all car seats are created equal, even if it is the same brand or type of car seat. Each car seat has its own age, weight, and height limitations and it is important to make sure your child is within these limitations.If you do not have the manufacturer’s instructions, write or call the company. The manufacturer’s address and phone number should be on a label on the seat. Have the model number, name of the seat, and the date of manufacture readily available. Some manufacturers may also list instructions on their websites.
  • If you are using a used car seat, make sure it is not too old, does not have any visible cracks on it and is not missing any parts. Do not use car seats that have been in moderate or severe vehicle crash. Some car seat manufacturers recommend replacing the seat after any crash, even a minor one.
  • Do not use car seats that have been recalled. You can find out by calling the manufacturer or contacting the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. Make sure your car seat has a label with the model number and date of manufacture so that you can check to see if the seat has been recalled.

Evenflo Car Seat Recall

There are times when your child’s car seat may be recalled because of a defect that can injure your child. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem free of charge. Typically, you do not have to send the safety seat back to the manufacturer if there was a recall. Most problems can be fixed by replacing a part that the manufacturer will send you.

Evenflow Recall

In February 2016, Evenflo Company, a car seat manufacturer, recalled more than 56,000 combination car seats in coordination with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The company identified a safety concern for its Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat. Three model numbers, 34411686, 34411695 and 3441102, that were manufactured from December 18, 2004 through January 29, 2016, were affected by this recall.

Evenflo car seats were being recalled because of a harness problem. There was a possibility that the car seat’s Central Front Adjuster (CFA) button, which is used to loosen the seat’s internal harness, was within a child’s reach. Evenflo said that if children can reach this button, they can loosen the internal harness, allowing them to get loose. This is a major concern for the safety of children, as it increases the risk of injury in a crash.

The problem was discovered in late January 2016 during Evenflo’s analysis of consumer feedback. Evenflo says the problem only affects the seats when they’re used as forward-facing harnessed boosters, not when using the vehicle’s seatbelt to hold the child. So far, no injuries have been reported.

Replacement Car Seats

Evenflo has notified owners and is sending out new parts for the seats. They are sending out a free remedy kit with a new seat pad, FCA assembly and installation instructions. Installing the replacement parts will restrict a child’s access to the CFA. If you have not received your remedy kit, you can order through their website at www.transitions.evenflo.com.

Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat

The Evenflo Transitions safety seat is called a 3-in-1 Combination Booster seat since it provides 3 modes of use:

  1. Forward-facing harnessed booster (recall is related to this mode)
  2. High-back belt-positioning booster
  3. No-back belt-positioning booster

To provide proper restraint in the forward-facing harnessed booster mode, the Transitions’ internal harness must be tightened to fit snugly around the child.

For further information or to determine if your child’s seat is included in this Evenflo recall, contact Evenflo customer service department directly. Do not try to return your child’s Transitions car seat to retailers.

Can you still use the Transitions seat while you wait for the remedy kit?

Evenflo asks customers to pay attention to whether their children are accessing the CFA area. If they are not, there will not be a risk of the CFA being activated, and the Transitions seat may still be safety used in harnessed mode.

If a child is accessing the CFA area, the Transitions car seat may still be safely used in either high-back or no-back belt-positioning model with children weighing at least 40 pounds and 43 inches tall. If the child does not meet the minimum size requirements for the belt-positioning booster mode, then the seat should not be used until the replacement is installed.

If you do not see your children accessing the CFA area, but they still seem to be within reach, a safety precaution is to stop using the car seat. Their curious minds may lead them to eventually press the CFA button and loosening the harness. If you stop using the car seat, make sure you do not let your child ride in a safety belt only.

Is Your Car Seat Safe?

Even if you do not own a Evenflo car seat, a safety precaution is to find out if there has been any recall for the car seat that you own that you may not be aware of. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem at no cost. If your child’s safety seat was recalled, get it fixed right away. Although some defects are minor, some are still quite serious. All problems should be corrected as soon as possible. You do not want to risk the chance of possibility injuring your child.

You can find out by calling the manufacturer or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 888-327-4236. Make sure your car seat has a label with the model number and date of manufacture so that you can check to see if the seat has been recalled.

Every car seat is different, so always read the user guide and check the expiration date stamped on the plastic. Most car seats last between 5-9 years after they were manufactured, not when they were bought.

Check your car seat to see if there are any defects, such as cracks on the plastic. Make sure the car seat you are using has never been used in a crash. If you are using a used car seat from a friend or relative, find out about its history. Ask them for a detailed instruction booklet, or order it from the manufacturer if they do not have it, and make sure that the seat is not missing any parts. Ensure that you installed the car seat properly and are using it correctly.

It’s also helpful to know your state’s child safety seat laws and ensure that you are doing everything possible to keep your child riding safe!

Disposing of Car Seats

If your car seat has expired, was in a crash, and is no longer usable, you will need to dispose it properly. See if there is a special recycling center near your area. If there is no recycling center in your area, destroy the seat to make sure it will not be picked up by someone and used by another child.  Break it down with a power tool and make it as unusable as possible. Mark it “Do not use as a safety seat” before throwing it out, wrapped securely in a black trash bag. Try to reduce the number of eyes that might see this as a potential item to take and use.

Car Seat Safety

One of the most important jobs as a parent is to keep your child safe when riding in a vehicle. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death for all children. Many of these injuries can be prevented with child safety seats, or child car seats. Buckling children in the appropriate car seat reduces the risk of serious injuries. The seats function by absorbing and safely distributing the impact from a vehicle crash over the child’s body while holding the child in place. They also prevent the child from getting in contact with the vehicle interior components or ejection from the vehicle.

Car Seat Safety Laws

All of the United States, District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have laws requiring proper child safety seats. Since each state has its own safety laws regarding the child’s height, weight, and age, it is important to know the specific laws that apply to the state that you live in.

In many states, child car seat laws are primary, which means that police can stop vehicles solely for child safety seat violations. There will be fines issued if you are found violating the law, where the amount will vary by state. First offense fines for noncompliance with a state’s law can range from $10 to $500. Some states also use driver’s license points as an additional penalty for not complying. Read more about each state’s child car seat safety requirements here.

Child Passenger Safety Statistics

  • The appropriate usage of car seats reduce the risk of death to infants less than one year old by 71% and to toddlers aged 1-4 years old by 54%.
  • Booster seats reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 45% for children aged 4-8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.
  • For older children and adults, seat beat use reduces the risk of injury and death by approximately 50%.
  • In 2011, over 650 children died and more than 148,000 children were injured in the age range of 0-12 years old. Of the 650 children who died, 33% were not restrained in a car seat.
  • While 96% of parents believe that they have installed their child safety seats correctly, it is found that 70-80% of the children are actually improperly restrained.
  • Children of all ages are safest when they are properly restrained in the back seat of the car. However, 60% of drivers actually believe it is safe for children ages 12 and under to sit in the front seat in front of a passenger air bag, but in fact, air bags can be very dangerous to children.

Common Child Seat Installation Mistakes

Installing the child car seat correctly is imperative because, if used incorrectly, the car seat’s effectiveness to prevent injuries is reduced. Below are some common mistakes for child car seat installation:

  • Not using the proper child safety seat for a child’s current size and age
  • Not placing the child car seat in the correct direction (rear facing, forward facing)
  • Not securing or tightening the car seat’s harness and crotch straps
  • Incorrect installation of the child car seat in relation to the vehicle’s air bags (child is safest when seated in the back seat of vehicle)
  • Not making sure the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly across the child when using a booster seat
  • Using a defective or broken child seat. Look at the car seat label for the date it was made. Check with the manufacturer to see how long they recommend using the seat.

If you have questions or need help installing your car seat, ask a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST). You can call the National Child Passenger Safety Certified Technicians at 877-366-8154 and they will be able to provide you with a list of CPSTs.

Important Safety Reminders:

  • Be a good role model. Make sure you always wear your own seat belt. This will help your child develop a habit of buckling up.
  • Make sure that anyone who will be driving your child uses the correct car seat and knows how to buckle in the child correctly.
  • Always read and follow your car seat manufacturer’s instructions. Not all car seats are created equal, even if it is the same brand or type of car seat. Each car seat has its own age, weight, and height limitations and it is important to make sure your child is within these limitations.
    If you do not have the manufacturer’s instructions, write or call the company. The manufacturer’s address and phone number should be on a label on the seat. Have the model number, name of the seat, and the date of manufacture readily available. Some manufacturers may also list instructions on their websites.
  • If you are using a used car seat, make sure it is not too old, does not have any visible cracks on it and is not missing any parts. Do not use car seats that have been in moderate or severe vehicle crash. Some car seat manufacturers recommend replacing the seat after any crash, even a minor one.
  • Do not use car seats that have been recalled. You can find out by calling the manufacturer or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. Make sure your car seat has a label with the model number and date of manufacture so that you can check to see if the seat has been recalled.

Buying a Car Seat

You will need to have a baby car seat readily available even before your baby is born, unless you plan to walk home from the hospital. All 50 states require children to be properly restrained in a car seat, usually until they are at least 7-8 years old. Most states also require children to ride in booster seats until they weigh at least 60 pounds or more, or are at a certain age or height.

With many different types of car seats on the market, some parents might find this overwhelming. You can learn more about the different types of car seats available to see what the appropriate car seat is, based on your child’s age and weight.