All Ages - Safety In The Car

Pregnancy and Beyond

Infants-less than one year or less than 20 pounds

Missouri law requires all children under the age of four to be secured in an approved child safety seat. Your baby should stay in a rear-facing child safety seat until 12 months of age and 20 pounds.

Using a child safety seat correctly is one of the best ways you can protect your baby from serious harm. If a child safety seat isn't used correctly or installed properly, it may not protect your child in a crash. Here are some helpful hints for using your child safety seat:

In a rear-facing child safety seat adjust the harness straps so that they are in the slots closest to or just below your baby's shoulders and tighten so that they fit snugly over your baby. Avoid putting thick clothing like a snowsuit or bunting on the baby. Instead, buckle the harness straps and then cover your baby with a blanket. The harness chest clip should be placed at the infant's armpit level. This keeps the harness straps positioned properly over the infant in the event of a crash.

Make sure that the child safety seat reclines far enough that the baby's head doesn't fall forward. The safety seat should be positioned following the manufacturer's instructions, with no more than a 45-degree angle. If you experience problems, you can put a tightly rolled towel or receiving blanket under the front edge of the safety seat (in the crack of the vehicle seat) to tilt it back in order to achieve the appropriate angle for recline.

The vehicle belt system must hold the child safety seat firmly in place. Buckle the vehicle seat belt through the car seat f ollowing the instructions or labeling on the seat. Press down on the child safety seat while tightening the belt. There should be no more than one inch of side-to-side movement when you pull on the seat near the seat belt path. Different belt systems can be tightened differently. Check the vehicle owner's manual and labels on seat belts.

Avoid using child safety seats that are used or second-hand. They may not have all of their parts and could have damage that you cannot see. Child safety seats and seat belts that were in use during a crash should be replaced.

Protect your baby by buckling up yourself and other passengers. A baby can be seriously hurt in car crashes from being hit or crushed by others who are not buckled up in the vehicle.

Some local health departments have trained personnel to educate and demonstrate how to correctly install a child safety seat. If you have any questions call the Missouri Division of Highway Safety at 1-800-800-BELT.

And remember. NEVER leave a child alone in a car! Not even for a minute!

Children-after one year and 20 pounds

Missouri law requires all children under the age of 4 to be secured in an approved child safety seat and all children under 16 to be properly restrained in a motor vehicle. Children over one year and at least 20 pounds may ride in a forward facing child safety seat. The safest position in the vehicle is the back seat. Never place a child safety seat in front of an air bag.

Be sure your child safety seat is securely fastened in the car, and that your child is securely fastened in the safety seat. The safest position in the vehicle is the back seat. Harness straps should be at or above the child's shoulders and, in most cases should be threaded through the top slots of the child safety seat. Harness straps should be snug with the chest clip at armpit level.

The vehicle belt system must hold the child safety seat firmly in place. Buckle the vehicle seat belt through the car seat f ollowing the instructions or labeling on the seat. Press down on the child safety seat while tightening the belt. There should be no more than one inch of side-to-side movement when you pull on the seat near the seat belt path. Different belt systems can be tightened differently. Check the vehicle owner's manual and labels on seat belts.

Children should ride in a safety seat with full harness until they weigh 40 pounds. Children over 40 pounds can be moved into a booster seat using the vehicle lap and shoulder belt. It is recommended they ride in booster seats until age 8, or 80 pounds, or 4' 9' in height.

For further information, call the Missouri Division of Highway Safety at 1-800-800-BELT.

And remember. NEVER leave a child alone in a car! Not even for a minute!