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Car Seat Safety

Transporting Precious Cargo – Car Seat Safety

Did you know that nine out of ten car seats are used incorrectly? Whether you're expecting your first baby or have a car full of kids, correctly choosing and installing a child safety seat can be a challenge, especially with the variety of seats, vehicle belt systems, and vehicles on the market.

To keep your child as safe as possible, follow these tips and sign up for a car seat check-up with a certified technician at St. Luke’s. (See below for upcoming events.)

Rear-facing Car Seat

  • Rear-facing car seats are the safest car seat because the head, neck, and spine are better protected in the case of a collision.
  • Children should stay in a rear-facing seat as long as they fit the height and weight limits, at least until 2 years old.
  • If children start to grow out of the rear-facing seat before the age of 2, look for a different seat with higher height and weight requirements.

Forward-facing Car Seat

  • If your child is over 2 years old and has outgrown the height and weight requirements of their rear-facing car seat, they should move to a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness.
  • Children should stay in a car seat until they've outgrown the height and weight requirements and are mature enough to sit correctly in a booster seat.

Booster Seat

  • Booster seats raise your child high enough to use a seat belt. They're used when a child has outgrown harness-style car seats, but aren't big enough to use a seat belt.
  • Children can move into a booster seat when they outgrow their car seats and can stay seated without unbuckling.

Seat Belt

  • Kids shouldn't move to a seat belt until they're 4 feet, 9 inches tall, typically between 8 and 12 years old.
  • Children should ride in the back seat until they're at least 13 years old.
  • No one should ever ride in the back of a pickup truck.
  • Idaho law requires everyone riding in a motor vehicle to wear a seat belt.

Seat Belt Checklist

If your child can pass this 5-point checklist, he or she should be ready for a regular seat belt.

  • Can your child sit with his or her back flat against the car seat?
  • Do his or her knees bend at the edge of the seat with feet touching the floor?
  • Does the lap belt lie flat over the thighs, not the stomach?
  • Does the shoulder belt lie between the collarbone and shoulder?
  • Can he or she sit properly for the length of the trip without moving around or unbuckling?

Right Seat 4 Kids 4 Care Presented by St. Luke's Children's and Kohl's

St. Luke's Children's is Idaho's only children's hospital, serving children across six states. Child passenger safety is often an overlooked, affordable health care need, costing families hundreds to thousands of dollars. Our car seat program has the ability to help decrease certain costs to our community by providing various sized car seats to those in need.

If you have questions or find yourself in need of resources, please contact St. Luke's Children's Car Seat Program at (208) 381-3033.

Car Seat Safety Checks

Let St. Luke’s help take the stress out of correctly installing a safety seat for your treasured cargo. We offer monthly car seat check-up events, and also provide child passenger safety seats for families who may not be able to afford them. At these events, a St. Luke's certified child passenger safety technician will evaluate your car seat for proper installation, use, and recall status, and answer any questions you may have regarding your child’s safety in the car.

Idaho Law

Idaho's Child Passenger Safety Law requires that all children six years of age or younger be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety restraint. Idaho Code 49-672 is a primary law, with a fine of $79.

Find a car seat check event near you