Honestly, How Important Is Your Child’s Safety To You?

On a scale of 1-10 where do you place the importance of your child’s safety with 1 being the least and 10 being the highest priority? A 10? LIES! You better not say a 10 when I can ride past you on any given day, seeing your toddler sitting in a normal lap belt (no car seat) and your infant strapped in completely wrong.

A few weeks ago I was rear ended with my four year old in tow. Although he was in pure shock and full of fear he was physically unharmed. The circumstances could have been different if he was not secured in not only a car seat but the appropriate seat for his age and  weight. It’s not cute to let these too little kids ride in the front seat (air bags people). If we truly put our children first we must do so even if they’re going to be super upset that they are rear facing. Get over it kiddo. As a judge will tell you, ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. Just because you don’t know what the law is on car seat safety doesn’t mean you get to pass go and collect $ 200 folks.

Here is the law in Illinois as it relates to car seat safety. Although it varies from state to state it’s generally not that big of a difference. Please go online to check the laws in the state you live in.

Newborn-12 months

Children under age 1 and weighing less than 20 pounds should always ride in a rear-facing infant seat or a convertible seat used rear-facing.

Never install a rear-facing safety seat in front of an active airbag.

Rear-facing safety seats should recline 30-45 degrees.

The child’s head must be at least 1 inch below the top of the safety seat when rear-facing.

Use the harness straps/slots at or below shoulder level when rear-facing.

Harness straps must be snug on the child; the harness clip should be at armpit level.

Ages 1-4

Children should remain in a rear-facing safety seat until age 2, or until they are at the upper height or weight limit of the seat. When a child out- grows a rear-facing safety seat, he or she may transition to a forward-facing seat with a harness system.
Use the internal harness system until the upper height or weight limit is reached.

Use harness straps/slots at or above shoulder level when forward-facing.

Harness straps must be snug on the child; the harness clip should be at armpit level.

The top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the car seat when forward-facing.

Ages 4-8

Children should be secured in a forward-facing safety seat with an internal harness system until they reach the upper height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. When a child outgrows the forward-facing seat, he or she may transition to a belt-positioning booster seat.
Booster seats must be used with the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt, never just a lap belt.

The lap belt should lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face.

The top of the child’s ears should not be above the top of the back of a booster seat with a back.

If using a backless booster seat, the vehicle’s head restraint must be positioned properly.

Secure the booster seat with the vehicle’s seat belt when not in use.

Ages 8-12

Children should stay in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are tall enough to properly fit in an adult lap/shoulder belt.
The vehicle lap belt must lie low across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the shoulder and chest, not across the neck or face.

The child’s back and hips should be against the back of the vehicle seat, without slouching.

Knees should bend easily over the front edge of the vehicle seat with the feet flat on the floor.
Child Passenger Safety Tips

Keep children in rear-facing safety seats as long as possible.

Keep children in the back seat at least through age 12.

Never place a rear-facing safety seat in front of an active airbag.
Endangering the Life or Health of a Child and Leaving a Child Unattended In a Car

It is unlawful for any person to willfully cause or permit the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered or to willfully cause or permit a child to be placed in circumstances that endanger the child’s life or health, except that it is not unlawful for a person to relinquish a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act.

A person who leaves a child 6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes is in violation of the law.

Unattended means either: not accompanied by a person 14 years of age or older; or if accompanied by a person 14 years of age or older, out of sight of that person.

A violation of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor which means up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.

A second violation is a Class 3 felony meaning 2 to 5 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

A violation that causes the death of the child is a Class 3 felony for which a person, if sentenced to prison, shall be sentenced to a term of two years and up to 10 years.
All safety information received from http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/childsafety.html

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