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Seat belts

Do you use your seat belt on every ride? Buckling up on every ride is the single most important thing a family can do to stay safe in the car. Here are a few tips to make buckling up a part of every car ride.

Hard Facts about Not Wearing Seat Belts

More than half of teens (ages 13-19) and adults (ages 20-44) who died in crashes in 2015 were not wearing a seat belt. (NHTSA)

Top Tips about Wearing Seat Belts

  1. Don’t be in a hurry to move your child out of the belt positioning booster seat. The adult seat belt usually does not fit well until sometime between the ages of 8 and 12, depending on the size of your child.
  2. Find out if your child is ready for the seat belt alone by doing the Safety Belt Fit Test:
    • Check knees and feet. Your child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back. Her feet should touch the floor for comfort and stability.
    • Check the lap belt. The vehicle lap belt must fit snugly across the hips or upper thighs.
    • Check the shoulder belt. The shoulder belt must fit across the shoulder and chest, NOT across the face or neck.
  3. If your child doesn’t pass the test, keep him in a booster seat until he does.
  4. Remember, just because the seat belt fits your child in one car doesn’t mean the seat belt will fit in all cars. Do the Seat Belt Fit Test in every car before permanently moving from the booster seat to seat belt alone.
  5. Be a good example. We know that when adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.

Learn More

Learn more about other areas of safety in and around cars, including car seat safety and booster seat safety; how to protect your kids from heatstroke in cars; driveway safety; how to avoid getting trapped in the trunk; and how to prepare teens and preteens for driving before they get behind the wheel.  

The Ultimate Car Seat Guide