The National Center for Injury, Prevention and Control suggests using the following guidelines to protect children in cars:
- Children 12 and under should ride in the back seat, which is the safest part of the vehicle. Also, the force of an air bag deployment can kill a young child.
- Children from birth to age 1 and under 20 pounds should use rear-facing child seats. If an infant's head is facing forward during a crash, his or her neck could break. Infants in rear-facing seats should never be placed in a seat in front of an air bag.
- Children 1 to 4 and between 20 and 40 pounds should use forward facing seats. It is important to read the manuals for your car and safety seat, and contact a trained technician in your community to learn how to install it. Studies show up to 80 percent of child seats are misused.
- Children 4 to 8, who weigh more than 40 pounds but are under 4 feet, 9 inches should use booster seats, which raise the children so seat belts fit properly.
- Restraints should always be used, even during quick trips to the market.