Car Safety Tips for Kids

Read Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Altman. When Prince William strapped his newborn son into his car seat, and drove away from the hospital, it made the news around the world. Why? Because he made it look so easy. As many parents know, car seats save lives, but they can be tricky to use. Car seat designs vary widely.

And according to one study, 72% of child restrained systems were misused in a way that could increase the child's risk of injury in a crash. Try these tips to keep your child safe. Choose a car seat or booster seat that's the right model for her age and size. Make sure it's properly installed.

Not sure if you got it right? Your local police or fire station may offer free child car seat inspections. And take a cue from Prince William: practice using the car seats before you need to strap in a squirmy baby or toddler. Keep babies and toddlers in rear facing seats for as long as possible until two years of age, or they reach the highest weight and height limit on their car seats. It's the safest way to ride.

Then keep your child in a forward facing seat with a 5-point harness until she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Often this is around seven or eight years of age.

Finally, as your child gets older, don't graduate her out of the booster seat too quickly. Smaller kids as old as 12 may still need a booster until they are big enough for a car seat belt to fit properly. For guidelines, check out safercar.gov/parents. I'm Dr. Altman. For more ways to protect your kids' health, check out all our smart tips, right here.