For most travelers, the biggest threat to their safety is vehicle accidents. And on road trips, both in the Canada and abroad, it’s important to take along a car seat or booster seat to protect infants and young children.
About 1.2 million people die in vehicular accidents and as many as 50 million are injured each year, says the World Health Organization in its “Global Status Report on Road Safety.” So how do you keep your child safe? Here’s what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends:
• Use a rear-facing seat in the back seat until the child is at least 1 and weighs at least 20 pounds. (The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that a child should ride facing the rear as long as possible. Some seats now accommodate kids as heavy as 35 pounds.)
• Use forward-facing toddler seats in the back seat from age 1 and 20 pounds to about 4 and 40 pounds.
• Use booster seats in the back seat from about age 4 to at least 8, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches tall.
• Use seat belts at age 8 or if the child is older or taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Make sure the belt fits properly, says Lorrie Walker, training manager and technical adviser for Safe Kids Worldwide, over the bony part of the hips and over the collar and shoulder bones. Those 12 and younger should ride in the back seat.
• If you’re taking a taxi or other private car, make sure there’s a seat belt in the back seat.