Car Seat Safety Program

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Car Seat Safety Program

Keeping children safe in vehicles

At Children’s Health, our team of car seat technicians can teach you to use and install car seats correctly. Using car seats properly lowers the risk of injury in a car crash, which is the No. 1 cause of death in children under 14 years old.

Car seats lower an infant’s chance of dying in a car crash by up to 71% and a toddler’s risk by 54%. 

Texas State Law requires children to be in a car seat or booster seat until they are either 8 years old or 4-feet 9-inches tall. Recent local research shows that about 75% of car seats are not installed correctly, even though most parents and caregivers think they are.

Call for appointment

214-456-2059

 

 

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Learn how to install a car seat

Our Car Seat Safety Program is a part of the Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Health℠. We offer:

  • Free 30-minute, in-person or virtual car seat checks by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians
  • Car seat safety classes, where caregivers can learn how to use a car seat
  • Free and reduced-cost car seats based on financial need
  • Online articles and resources

Appointments are held each Wednesday in Dallas and the last Friday of the month in Plano. For an appointment call 214-456-2059.

Car seat safety check appointments

The service is open to anyone, regardless of where you live. You just have to schedule a car seat appointment. At the appointment, our Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will:

  • Help you determine if your car seat is the right one for your child
  • Teach you how to install your car seat in the safest way possible
  • Teach you the basics of proper car seat use
  • Use their training to evaluate the car seat needs of children with special medical needs

Prepare for your appointment:

  • Be ready to learn; our car seat technicians are trained to teach you how to properly use your car seat. They will not be installing the car seat for you.
  • If possible, bring your child with you. If expecting, bring a stuffed animal or doll to practice proper harnessing.
  • Bring the owner manuals for your vehicle and your car seat.

What makes a car seat safe

Our technicians evaluate the safety of a car seat based on four main criteria: selection, installation, direction and harnessing.

Selection

Your child’s car seat should be appropriate for their age, height, weight and developmental needs. They should start in a rear-facing seat then move on to a forward-facing seat with a harness, a booster seat and finally, the lap-and-shoulder seat belt.

Don’t be tempted to graduate your child to the next seat too soon. It’s safer to keep your child in their current seat until they have outgrown the height and weight limit. This information is usually found on a sticker on the side of the seat. We’re here to help if you aren’t sure whether your child has outgrown their seat.

Learn more about Car Seat Recommendations for Children from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Installation

Your child’s car seat can be installed using the lower anchors or the seat belt. In addition, on all forward-facing car seats use a top tether when possible. A properly installed car seat should not move more than an inch front to back or side to side. Making sure the seat is properly attached to the car is vital to securing your child in your car.

Direction

Infants and toddlers should always ride in car seats that face the back of your car. This will help prevent neck and brain injuries in case of a car crash.

Older, bigger children can ride in car seats that face the front of your car. But we recommend that your child remain in a rear-facing seat as long as they fit in one because rear-facing car seats are five times safer. It is important not to rush this process.

Harnessing

Your child’s car seat has a five-point harness, or straps, that secure them into the seat. A properly fitted harness gives your child the best protection in a car crash. Proper harnessing includes having the straps at the right level and snugly fitted with the chest clip at arm pit level. Incorrect harnessing is the most common error parents make when using a car seat. Our technicians can teach you how to properly strap your child into their car seat. Consider making an appointment with us each time your child gets a new car seat.