September 16-22 is National Child Passenger Safety Week and with it brings a somber statistic that in the United States, the number one killer of children between 1 and 12 years of age is car accidents. So making sure that kids are using the right car restraint, at the right time and using it correctly is the best way to protect them. Now, with all the options available from car seats to car boosters understanding the options and what you need will allow you to implement a safe car environment for the kids.

Types of Seats

Your child’s age and size will dictate what type of safety restraint she uses in the car.Newborns up to one year should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. They use harnesses and move with your child, lowering the chance of head and spinal cord injuries. suggests moving onto forward-facing restraints only when your child exceeds the height or weight limit on the rear-facing seat, generally around age 3. Once they reach the limits of these seats it will be time to move them to a booster seat.

Although not required by the state of Florida, moving onto a belt-positioning booster seat, as opposed to seat belt alone, will lower injury risks for your child by 59 percent according to a national study conducted by Safe Kids USA published in 2010.

Choosing the Right Car Seat

Once you’ve figured out what type of seat your child requires, you’ll need to make sure that any seats you’re interested in will work in your car. One of the most common mistakes is buying a seat that is either too small or too big for your car.

You’ll also want to find ratings on safety and ease-of-use by organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The administration is constantly ranking car seats to help parents find the best options. From evaluation of labels, installations and overall ease of use, the ratings can be found online at

Installation and Asking For Help

More than 60% of car and booster seats are installed incorrectly. So before installing its important to read the seat’s instruction manual completely. Also read any information that might be in your car’s manual on installing safety restraints.

If you’re still not sure about the installation there are local programs and classes in Tampa Bay like the one at All Children’s Hospital where you can meet with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and they can show you how to properly install and use your car seat. To register for a class, visit

The most important thing to remember is that parents are not the only one that Child Passenger Safety applies to. Anyone that will be transporting your kids from school or anywhere else should be trained to property install and restrain your child.

Whether it be a car seat, booster seat or seat belt everyone should always be restrained in the car.  Doing so is not only important for your child’s safety, it could also save their life.

Find good car and booster seats at

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