Child Passenger Safety: Car Seat Rules You Need to Know

May 10, 2024 | Education

Child passenger safety is a crucial aspect that every parent should prioritize. A motor vehicle crash is one of the leading causes of death among children in the United States. In fact, in 2020, about 63,000 children were injured in car accidents in the United States, and 711 children aged 12 and under lost their lives in these wrecks.

Alarming statistics like these highlight the need to ensure that children are appropriately secured in a car to minimize the risk of injury in a car crash. Today, we will discuss the essential car seat rules that every parent should know. Specifically, we will focus on the guidelines set by the state of Albuquerque to protect your child when traveling in a vehicle.

Car Seat Laws

There are no age or height restrictions on when children are allowed to ride in the front seat of a vehicle in the U.S. However, according to the New Mexico Child Restraint Act, children must be securely fastened in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least one year old and weigh at least twenty pounds.

If a vehicle has a rear seat, the car seat must be placed in that area. If there is no rear seat, the passenger-side airbag must be deactivated. It’s crucial never to put a rear-facing car seat before an active airbag. If it cannot be disabled, the car seat should be positioned as far away from the airbag as possible.

However, organizations such as the National Safety Council highly recommend that children remain in the backseat until they are at least 13 years old and 4’9″ tall.

This is because passenger-side airbags are designed for adults and can cause severe or even fatal injuries to younger children. It is always best to prioritize the safety of our children and keep them in the backseat until they are old enough and big enough for proper protection from airbags.

So, it’s crucial to follow these laws and recommendations to ensure the safety of all passengers, especially young ones.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

In the U.S.A., it is required by law for all children to travel in a child safety seat until they are seven years old and at least 60 pounds. After that, children must use a booster seat until they are 12 or reach a weight where an adult seat belt fits them properly. This is known as the Child Restraint Act.

The specific requirements for child safety seats are based on age and weight:

  • Children under one year old must use a rear-facing car seat in the backseat
  • Regardless of age, children between one and four years old or under 40 pounds must use either a rear- or forward-facing child safety restraint
  • Regardless of age, children between five and six years old or under 60 pounds must use either a booster seat or a restraint
  • Children between seven and 12 years old must use an appropriate child safety restraint or a seat belt that fits them properly

It is important to note that children should only move on to the next type of car seat once they reach their current car seat’s maximum height or weight.

Child’s Safety First!

It is imperative that we protect our children’s safety when driving. Following car seat laws and recommendations can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death in case of a car crash. It is also essential to regularly check and replace car seats as needed, follow manufacturer guidelines for installation, and always use appropriate restraints for each child’s age and weight.

Let’s work together to keep our children safe on the road.

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