Child Passenger Safety Week is this month and it’s the perfect reminder of how critical it is to follow car seat safety rules. As you select the right car seat for your child, it’s important to know what to look for, how to properly secure it, and how to abide by the law in Arizona.

Why are Car Seats Important?

Road injuries are the primary cause of preventable injuries and deaths of children in the U.S. The best way to ensure a child is safe in a vehicle is to use the right car seat in the appropriate way. Correctly using child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by approximately 71%.

What is the Car Seat Safety Law in Arizona?

The Arizona Department of Transportation regulates the use of child safety seats for children that fall under specified height and age requirements when in a motor vehicle. Safety seat regulations for minors in Arizona include using a car seat for children under the age of eight years old and up to four feet, nine inches tall. This car seat safety regulation includes the use of a booster seat for children between the ages of five and seven. In addition, the installation of the car safety seat needs to follow the manufacturer’s specifications for your child’s height and weight. Anyone who violates this required standard will be subject to a civil penalty of $50. This penalty won’t be imposed if the individual in question can show that their vehicle has been subsequently equipped with the appropriate child safety seat, one that meets the required standards.

Car Seat Types

The best way to keep your child safe in a vehicle is to properly use the right car safety seat. As children grow, how they sit in a vehicle changes as well. This means it is important that the car seat you use fits your child’s current age and size.

Infant Seats

Infants require the use of a rear-facing car seat – at least until the age of two. Once a child grows out of the infant seat, reaching its height and weight limits, it’s time to move on to a rear-facing car seat that fits the next size and weight class up.

All-in-One Child Safety Seats

These child safety seats can be changed from a rear-facing to forward-facing seats (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used for children of various sizes, it makes it possible for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

Booster seats

These seats are for children who are four years old and older, weighing 40 pounds or more. Booster seats use shoulder belts and a regular car lap belt to secure the child. If the vehicle has head support, you can use a backless booster seat.

Finding the Right Size

When it comes to finding the right size, always refer to the car seat manufacturer’s instructions, choosing the one that fits your child’s age and size. You’ll also need to determine when it’s time to upgrade the car seat, checking to make sure your child still falls within the appropriate age, weight and height limit for the car seat.

Installation Tips

Read through the directions provided with the car seat you purchase and make sure that you clearly understand how to install it securely. Be sure that the car seat doesn’t move more than an inch in any direction. In addition, you’ll need to adjust the recline angle. The base of rear-facing car seats need to be level to prevent the child’s head from falling forward. Also, make sure to securely connect the tether strap. Forward-facing car seats also come with an extra strap, a sensible added safety measure. Even if you follow the instructions provided by the car seat’s manufacturer, it’s a good idea to have someone inspect your work.

Important Reminder – Car seat safety is important, both when you’re drivine and when your not. Never leave your child in a car alone – for any reason – especially in the Arizona heat.

If you would like to have your car seat inspected, click here for a list of locations.

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