4. Buckle up.
It is crucial that all occupants use a safety belt properly during every ride. When safety seat belts are used by front-seat occupants, chances of fatal injury are reduced by 45 percent. Seat belts, when properly adjusted, are among the most important safety features in a motor vehicle. When worn properly, seat belts also provide added comfort, reduce fatigue, and help keep the driver more alert.
Ensure your seat belt is properly positioned.
- Sit up straight with your back firmly against the back of the seat.
- The lap belt should fit snugly across your hips and not be allowed to ride up on your abdomen.
- After fastening the lap belt, be sure to take up any slack.
- Never place the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.
- On many vehicles, there is a mechanism to adjust the shoulder height of the safety belt. Take advantage of this to position the belt for optimum comfort.
Child Safety Seats
All states have child-restraint laws that require children, at least up to age 4, to be properly secured in child safety seats. While you may not have to install a seat yourself, it’s good to know which car seats and boosters are safest for different children if you ever drive with children in the car.
Babies should ride in a rear-facing child safety seat until age two or they reach the upper weight and height limits of their rear-facing convertible child safety seat. A rear-facing child safety car seat should never be placed in front of an active frontal air bag, which if deployed could cause serious injury or even death.
Once a child has outgrown a child safety seat, he or she should be secured with the vehicle’s lap or shoulder safety belts in a safety belt-positioning booster seat. Children are ready for a seat belt without a booster when they are 4’9”—usually between 8 to 12 years of age. Remember, all children under age 13 should ride in the back seat.