Seat Belt Safety
From Buckle Up Pennsylvania
Three things you should know about seat belts:
- Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Research has shown that seat belts can reduce the risk of death by 60-65% when used properly in conjunction with an airbag. Seat Belts Save Lives
- The majority of crashes happen when people are traveling close to home. A landmark child passenger safety study showed that 80% of traffic crashes occurred within 20 miles of home. Buckle Up Every Trip, Every Time
- Seat belts are the law in Pennsylvania for all drivers, front seat passengers, and anyone under the age of 18. The seat belt law is secondary; a person can only be ticketed for not buckling up if already stopped and cited for a primary offense like speeding. However, police understand the importance of seat belts and have a zero tolerance approach for seat belt violators. A seat belt ticket usually costs about $60. Click It or Ticket - 2 Tickets, 2 Fines
Seat Belt Safety Tips
- Read both the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner's manual before installing car seats.
- All children under 13 should ride in the back seat.
- When installing your child's car seat, place your weight on the car seat. Lock the seat belt according to the vehicle's instructions on the seat belt or in the owner's manual. Check the installation and allow no more than 1 inch of side-to-side or forward movement.
- Infants should ride rear facing and semi reclined to no more than 45 degrees, until at least age 1 and 20 pounds. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping children rear facing to the highest weight or height allowed by the child safety seat's manufacturer. Remember - never place a rear facing infant in front of a passenger side air bag. Place the harness in the slots at or below the shoulders. Tighten the harness until it lies in a relatively straight line without any slack or sagging, but not so tight as to press into the child's body causing discomfort. Adjust the chest clip on the harness to armpit level (if manufacturer provides one).
- Toddlers ride forward facing and upright once they reach at least age 1 and 20 pounds. Children should stay in the forward facing seat with a harness until they are 40 pounds. Place the harness through the top reinforced slots on the seat (unless instructions say otherwise). Tighten the harness until it lies in a relatively straight line without any slack or sagging as indicated in 4 above. Place chest clip at armpit level.
- NHTSA recommends that all children who have outgrown child seats be properly restrained in a booster seat until they are at least 8 years old and approximately 4 feet 9 inches tall. Use the belt positioning booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt properly adjusted to fit a small child over the hips and shoulder.
- Children should stay in a belt positioning booster seat until the lap and shoulder belt fit them correctly.
- For children age 8 through adult, it is important to use a properly positioned seat belt. Properly positioned means that the shoulder belt is across the shoulder and the lap belt is low and snug across the hips. Never place a shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm.
- To be able to fit a safety belt properly, a child must:
- Be tall enough to sit without slouching
- Keep his/her back and buttocks against the vehicle seat back
- Keep his/her knees completely bent over the edge of the vehicle seat
- Keep his/her feet flat on the floor
- Be able to stay comfortable seated this way
- Buckle up every trip, every time!