Child safety never takes back seat
Officer Lionel Brown, a DA police officer, inspects a child safety seat as part of a certification process last week. Brown was certified to inspect the seats and teach others how to correctly install them.

South Carolina child safety seat law

- Children from birth to 1 year old, or who weigh less than 20 pounds, must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- Children, 1 through 5, weighing 20 to 40 pounds, must be restrained in a forward-facing child seat.
- Children, 1 through 5, weighing 40 to 80 pounds, must be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat.
Source: South Carolina Department of Public Safety, www.buckleupsc.com


Child safety seat tips

- Always put your child in a size-appropriate safety seat, even if you are only traveling a short distance. If used correctly, child safety seats are 71 percent effective in reducing fatalities in children under the age of 5, and 69 percent effective in reducing the need for hospitalization.

- Never use a car seat that has been in a crash. Even if there is no visible damage, it may be less effective.

- Always use the complete harness to secure your child. If your seat has a top latch, it should fit securely over your child's chest.

- Do not forget to send in the registration card that comes with your child safety seat. This allows the manufacturer to send out important updates, like a recall.

- Avoid leaving the handle of the car seat up or putting toys or decorations on the handle. A handle that is left up is just another obstacle if you are in an accident.

- In most cars, the safest position for a rear-facing infant seat is the middle, because the most deadly type of collision is a side-impact collision. If a parent is concerned about not being able to see the child, install a shatter-proof mirror on the headrest in front of the seat.

- Make sure the seat is installed tightly enough. The car seat should not move more than one inch from side-to-side. If installing a base, you may have to get inside of the seat to ensure the seatbelt is placed tightly enough.
Compiled from the Fort Jackson Safety Center and the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Page last updated Thu July 2nd, 2009 at 10:36