Becoming a parent is a new experience filled with sheer joy, milestones, and, at times, confusion, doubt, and challenges. One area that you should pay extra attention to as a mom or dad is car seat safety. Safety is something that you should never compromise on. Educate yourself about the various car seat laws and booster seat requirements required in Arizona. It’s also important to research how long you should keep your baby or toddler’s car seat in the rear-facing mode.
The state of Arizona requires children to be properly restrained for their age, height, and weight. In fact, any child that is younger than eight years old and shorter than four feet and nine inches are required to be in some form of a child restraint system (ARS 28-907 A-B, N1). Safety regulations have become more stringent as more is discovered about safety and how children can be impacted by not being in the appropriate restraint system. It helps to first understand the different types of car seats available to purchase that will fit your child’s height and weight so you can choose one that is the best choice for your child and family.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
Law or not, more parents are now choosing to keep their children rear-facing until they’ve reached the maximum height and weight limits. Much of this is due to an increase of information about just how much safer rear-facing car restraint systems are for their children.
Rear-facing car seat systems are safer for infants and smaller than the forward-facing options. This is because they offer better spine and neck protection in the event of a car accident. Babies don’t have nearly as much head control as an adult and facing the back of the car allows the seat, instead of your child, absorb the impact. It also spreads the impact throughout the body instead of concentrated in a specific area. This is just one of many ways you can protect your child from car accident injuries.
Older publications of the rear-facing car seat law indicate a child can be transitioned to a front facing car seat by their first birthday as long as they are at least 20 pounds in weight. However, parents are encouraged by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to use a rear-facing car seat up until their child outgrows their car seat. This means most children will be able to stay in a rear-facing child restraint system up until their second or third birthday. These pieces of safety equipment are vital to preventing serious car accident injuries for your child.
Infant Car Seats
Infant seats are only made to be rear-facing. They tend to last anywhere from a few months after birth until a year or more depending on how small or large your child is. They snap into a base and always rear-face in the car. They are convenient when babies are really small and when you don’t want to put them in and out of the seat every time you need to get out of the car.
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats are more versatile and have higher height and weight limits than infant seats. Some parents opt to skip the infant seat and purchase a convertible seat from the start or get one after the baby is too large for the infant seat. They can be rear-faced to a certain weight limit, and then turned around to forward face. It is advisable that Valley parents keep their child rear-facing until they reach the limits of the seat. This helps them to comply with the appropriate rear-facing car seat law found in Phoenix, AZ that was enacted to protect children.
Front Facing Booster Seats
Once your child has outgrown their car seat and is at least four years old, they need to be in an appropriate booster seat to allow the seatbelt to sit across your child’s hips and chest instead of their neck and waist. A high-back or backless booster should be used until your child is at least 80 pounds and four feet nine inches tall, equivalent to about 57 inches. Be sure to follow the car booster seat laws found Nationwide and in the state of Arizona. If you have any questions or doubts that your child restraint system is secure enough or age-appropriate for your child, visit a car seat safety check station in Maricopa County. You can also check with your local fire or police department for other community events.
It may seem like a hassle to keep up with the different car seat and booster seat rules and regulations, but know that they are to ensure the maximum safety for everyone. The goal of every applicable Arizona car seat and booster seat law is to protect Valley children while they are riding in motor vehicles across the state. No one knows these laws better than the child injury lawyers at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC.
Some car accidents are unavoidable. In the event that one occurs with your children in the vehicle, you will definitely want to have child injury attorneys on your side. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your specific car accident injury situation to see how we can help you.