NHTSA Rolls Out Child Car Seat Finder Tool
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges parents and caregivers to register their child car seats via its “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today” campaign. In conjunction with registration, the agency recently announced its new Car Seat Finder tool to make it easy for parents to find the best car seat for their children. The tool includes a mobile app, according to an NHTSA press release.
More than a third of children killed in car crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts, and a child under age 13 is involved in a car accident every 34 seconds, the press release says. The statement quotes U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx:
‘Safety is our highest priority, and our new tool and registration campaign are two more ways we’re working to protect our most vulnerable passengers – our children.’
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), “All 50 states and the District of Columbia require child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria.” In addition, GHSA writes that 48 states and the District of Columbia require booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have grown too large for child seats but are too small to safely use adult seat belts. Only Florida and South Dakota lack booster seat laws, GHSA writes.
On the cars.com blog Kicking Tires, Jennifer Newman writes that the new tool is easy to use. She tested it by entering information about her 7-year-old son. The tool said her son needs to be in a booster seat — which Newman says is correct — and gave her a list of booster seats to consider. She writes: “Remember, kids should stay in booster seats until they’re 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least 80 pounds.”
As James Limbach writes for Consumer Affairs, once caregivers register child car seats, manufacturers will know how to contact them in the event of recalls and will fix them for free. The NHTSA’s SaferCar app now makes it possible for people to search for car seat recalls besides vehicle and tire recalls, and it helps people find businesses that will install their car seats. Limbach quotes NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman:
‘Regardless of age or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt that is installed correctly and free from safety defects.’
NHTSA’s SaferCar mobile app is available for both Apple and Android devices. The agency gives the following safety tips for parents and caregivers:
- Utilize NHTSA’s Car Seat Finder Tool to determine the right seat for your child based on age and size;
- Read the instructions and labels that come with your child’s car seat and read the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on installing the seat in your particular vehicle;
- Register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer to ensure you receive important safety recall notifications;
- If your child’s car seat is subject to a recall, follow contact the manufacturer and follow their guidance to receive a free fix for your seat;
- Go to your local car seat inspection station to have your seat checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician;
- Use the lower anchors and tethers for child restraint systems or seat belt to install your car seat and use the top tether to secure forward-facing car seats;
- Be sure all children under 13 years are seated and properly restrained in the back seat; and
- Always wear your seat belt to set a good example. Unbuckled drivers are more likely to have unrestrained children in the car.