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    Restraining Children Safely

    January 20th, 2010

    While driving my son to school each morning, I regularly see children who are not properly restrained in their seats. Practicing simple safety every trip–no matter how short–can save a child from serious injury in the event of a car accident. Here is a quick refresher (from www.buckleupnc.gov):

    ? Drivers of covered vehicles are responsible for all children and youth less than age 16 in the vehicle.

    ? Children younger than 16:
    All must be buckled up, in either the front or back seat, with additional guidelines…

    ? Children younger than age 8 AND who weigh less than 80 pounds…
    must be properly secured in a child passenger restraint device (CRD) that meets Federal standards and is appropriate for the child’s weight and height. Belt-positioning booster seats can be used for larger children (between 40 and 80 pounds) in lap and shoulder belt seating positions. Belt-positioning booster seats must NEVER be used with just a lap belt.

    ? Children who are age 8 and older (regardless of weight) OR who weigh 80 pounds (regardless of age)…
    can use a properly fitted seat belt instead of a booster. In other words, a child may be buckled in using just the seat belt on his/her 8th birthday OR when he/she reaches 80 pounds — whichever comes first.

    ? Placing the shoulder belt under a child’s arm or behind the back is dangerous and illegal in North Carolina.

    ? If there is no seating position equipped with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure a belt-positioning booster seat, a child who weighs at least 40 pounds may be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only. WARNING: Belt-positioning booster seats must NEVER be used with just a lap belt. Belt-positioning booster seats can only be used with lap and shoulder seat belts.

    These requirements apply to all vehicles required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to be equipped with seat belts. This includes most passenger cars, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans manufactured since the late 60’s and early 70’s. This law applies to out-of-state as well as in-state vehicles.