OCCHD injury prevention specialists remind residents that state law requires car seats must be rear-facing until the age of two. The child can remain rear facing after the age of two if weight requirements allow.
Children should always remain in a harness until four years of age and in a belt-positioning booster seat until age eight. All children taller than 4’9” (or age 8 and up) should be restrained in a seat belt.
When it comes to specifics about rear versus forward facing child seats, the harness strap slots on a rear-facing car seat should be at or below the child’s shoulders while the harness strap slots should be at or above the child’s shoulders on a forward-facing seat. When it comes to chest clips, they should always be placed at arm pit level after the straps are tightened.
The only thing that should be in between the harness of the car seat and the child is whatever single layer garment they are wearing. No coats or winter suits with padding.
Lastly, never leave children inside a car during the summer. Dr. Nathan Allen from the University of Chicago states, “The temperature inside a car can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in just an hour.” Learn more about car seat selection and usage here.