Infants and Young Children

Everyone in a vehicle needs protection! This includes infants and all other children. Neither the distance traveled nor the age and size of the traveler changes the need, for everyone, to use safety restraints. In fact, the law in every state in the United States and in every Canadian province says children up to some age must be restrained while in a vehicle.

CAUTION:
Children can be seriously injured or strangled if a shoulder belt is wrapped around their neck and the safety belt continues to tighten. Never leave children unattended in a vehicle and never allow children to play with the safety belts.

Every time infants and young children ride in vehicles, they should have the protection provided by appropriate restraints. Young children should not use the vehicle’s adult safety belts alone, unless there is no other choice. Instead, they need to use a child restraint.

CAUTION:
People should never hold a baby in their arms while riding in a vehicle. A baby does not weigh much — until a crash.

During a crash a baby will become so heavy it is not possible to hold it. For example, in a crash at only 25 mph (40 km/h), a 12 lb (5.5 kg) baby will suddenly become a 240 lb (110 kg) force on a person’s arms. A baby should be secured in an appropriate restraint.

CAUTION:

CAUTION:
Children who are up against, or very close to, any airbag when it inflates can be seriously injured or killed. Airbags plus lap-shoulder belts offer protection for adults and older children, but not for young children and infants. Neither the vehicle’s safety belt system nor its airbag system is designed for them. Young children and infants need the protection that a child restraint system can provide.

Q: What are the different types of add-on

Q: What are the different types of add-on child restraints?

A: Add-on child restraints, which are purchased by the vehicle’s owner, are available in four basic types. Selection of a particular restraint should take into consideration not only the child’s weight, height, and age but also whether or not the restraint will be compatible with the motor vehicle in which it will be used.

For most basic types of child restraints, there are many different models available. When purchasing a child restraint, be sure it is designed to be used in a motor vehicle. If it is, the restraint will have a label saying that it meets federal motor vehicle safety standards.

The restraint manufacturer’s instructions that come with the restraint state the weight and height limitations for a particular child restraint. In addition, there are many kinds of restraints available for children with special needs.

CAUTION:
Newborn infants need complete support, including support for the head and neck.

This is necessary because a newborn infant’s neck is weak and its head weighs so much compared with the rest of its body. In a crash, an infant in a rear-facing seat settles into the restraint, so the crash forces can be distributed across the strongest part of an infant’s body, the back and shoulders. Infants always should be secured in appropriate infant restraints.

CAUTION:
The body structure of a young child is quite unlike that of an adult or older child, for whom the safety belts are designed. A young child’s hip bones are still so small that the vehicle’s regular safety belt may not remain low on the hip bones, as it should. Instead, it may settle up around the child’s abdomen. In a crash, the belt would apply force on a body area that is unprotected by any bony structure. This alone could cause serious or fatal injuries.

Young children always should be secured in appropriate child restraints.

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