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DOT HS 811 091 August 2009 - page 26 / 27





26 / 27

Buying A SAfer CAr for Child PASSengerS 2009



    • e lap belt should t low over the child’s upper thighs when the child is sitting straight against the vehicle seat back . e child’s knees should bend naturally and comfortably over the edge of the vehicle seat .

    • e shoulder belt should stay on the shoulder and lie against the child’s chest . Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child’s back .

    • A lap-only belt (without a shoulder belt) should be used to restrain a child only if no other seat belt system is available . If you must transport several children in a vehicle that has a lap-only belt in the middle rear seat, and one of the children is in a rear- facing or a /toddler child safety seat, follow these guidelines:

      • Have the older children use the lap and shoulder belts .

      • Put the child riding in a child safety seat in the middle .

      • Secure the child safety seat with the lap- only belt .

  • Q.

    Is it safe to use the child safety seat aer it has been in a crash?

  • A.

    NHTSA recommends that child safety seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers . NHTSA recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash . Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:

    • e vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;

    • e vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;

    • ere were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;

    • e air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND

    • ere is no visible damage to the safety seat .

  • Q.

    Which vehicles have the LATCH system?

  • A.

    Since September 2000, all new passenger vehi- cles (except most s) have been equipped with the top tether anchors . All vehicles manufac- tured aer September 1, 2002, are equipped with the lower anchors . Although vehicles are exempt from tether anchor requirements, some manufacturers oer them as a safety enhancement . Check your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer to see if your older vehicle is equipped with tether anchors or has pre-drilled points where tether anchors can be installed .

  • Q.

    What if my vehicle is not LATCH-equipped?

  • A.

    Any child safety seat, even one with LATCH, can be installed using the vehicle seat belt and, if available, a top tether . Be sure to follow the vehicle owner’s manual and child safety seat instructions .

See the 4 Steps for Kids chart on page 21 for specics and tips on how to choose and use the right child safety and/or booster seat for your children.

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