Car Seat Safety

Did you know that four out of five car seats are used incorrectly? Whether you're expecting your first child, or you have a car-full, correctly choosing and installing a child safety seat can be a challenge, especially with the variety of seats, vehicle belt systems, and vehicles available on the market.

St. Luke's certified child passenger safety technicians will individually evaluate your car seat for proper installation, use, and recall status. They will also answer your child passenger safety questions.

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Sign Up for a Car Seat Safety Check-up Today!

Treasure Valley
Car seat safety check-ups are by appointment only. Call (208) 381-9000 to register or click here to see a list of dates.

Magic Valley
Car seat safety check-ups are by appointment only. Call (208) 814-7640 to register or click here to see a list of dates.

Wood River
Car seat safety check-ups are by appointment only. Call (208) 727-8776 to register or click here to see a list of dates.

 

For other car seat check-up locations, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. and usa.safekids.org

Best Practices for Keeping Kids Safe in the Car

  • Never put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat with an activated air bag.
  • Children 12 years old and younger should always ride in the back seat.
  • Never use a car seat that has been in a moderate or severe crash.
  • Always follow the instructions for your vehicle's seat belt or LATCH system and from the car seat manufacturer to be sure your child is buckled in safely.
  • Every car seat has an expiration date. You should only keep your car seat for six years after the manufacture date.
  • Mail in the car seat registration card or register your seat on the manufacturer's website. If you don't, you will not be notified if the child safety seat is recalled or has other safety problems. Click here to check for a recall.
  • Learn more about car seat safety at the American Academy of Pediatrics website, healthychildren.org.

Idaho Law

Idaho's Child Passenger Safety Law requires that all children six years of age or younger be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety restraint. Idaho Code 49-672 is a primary law, with a fine of $79. This law replaced the language of the old law concerning weight and age requirements of children being transported in a motor vehicle, and took effect July 1, 2005.
Click here to see the law in its entirety.

Four Stages of Child Passenger Safety

Age Group Type of Seat General Guidelines
Infants
Infants, Rear Facing Car Seats
(Newborn to about age 2 years): Rear-facing car seats

Keep children in a rear-facing position as long as possible to better protect their head, neck, and back.

Infant Seats: Face the back of the car and may include a base.

Convertible Seats: Face the back of the car. When the child reaches a specified weight and height, you can turn the seat around to face the front.

Check to make sure:

  • Your child meets the weight and height limits.
  • The harness straps are at or below your child's shoulders, and are snug.
  • The retainer clip or chest clip on the harness is at armpit level.
  • The car seat is buckled tight and does not move from side to side more than one inch.
  • The car seat leans back at a 30-45 degree angle. Every rear-facing car seat has an angle indicator.

Toddlers
Toddler Forward Facing Car Seat
(Age 2 years and older): Forward car seats

Keep children in a rear-facing position as long as possible-they are safest that way.

Convertible seats: These become forward-facing after the child reaches the highest weight and height allowed in the rear-facing position.

Combination seats: These always face the front of the car. The harness straps keep your child safe until a certain weight and height. Then, the straps are removed and the seat becomes a booster seat (use with a Lap/Shoulder seat belt).

Check to make sure:

  • Your child meets the weight and height limits.
  • The harness straps are at or above your child's shoulders, and are snug.
  • The retainer clip or chest clip on the harness is at armpit level.
  • The car seat is buckled in tight and does not move from side to side more than one inch.
  • The car seat sits upright.

Young Kids
Young Kids Booster Seats
(younger than 8 years old and approximately 40 pounds): Booster seats

Keep children in a harness as long as possible-they are safest this way.

High-back booster seats: These include a head rest and shoulder strap guides on the sides.

No-back booster seats: These do not include a head rest. Your vehicle must have a head rest that can adjust to the level of your child's head if this type is used.

Check to make sure:

  • Your child meets the weight and height limits.
  • You always use a lap/shoulder seat belt with a booster seat.
  • The lap part of the lap/shoulder belt lies flat on the child's hips, not the stomach.
  • The shoulder strap crosses the shoulder and chest, not the neck.

Older Kids
Older Kids Seat Belt
(8 years old or taller than 4 feet, 9 inches): Lap/shoulder seat belts

Seat belts are designed for adults, so keep your child in a booster until they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches.

Lap/shoulder belts: These cross over the shoulder, chest, and hips.

Lap belts: These only cross over the hips and do not support the upper body of a child or adult.

Check to make sure:

  • A lap/shoulder belt is always used.
  • The lap belt crosses at the hips and not the stomach.
  • The shoulder strap does not rub the neck.
  • Your child sits back in the seat with knees bent over the edge of the seat.
  • Your child's feet touch the floor.
  • Your child's head is supported by a head rest.

 

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