As parents, grandparents, and childcare providers, we have the great responsibility of keeping our children safe as possible. The most effective way to protect them when they are riding in vehicles, especially in the event of a crash, is to have them in the correct car seat system.
Minnesota law requires children to ride in a child safety seat, or booster seat, until they are big enough to sit on the car seat with a proper seat belt fit. There have been many serious crashes where children were not injured because they were in their car seats.
A basic point to remember about car seats is they should be secured tightly in the back seat of your vehicle, following the manufacturer’s installation directions. They should not move side-to-side, or front-to-back, more than one inch when pulled at the belt path.
The other important component is the proper position of the harness on your child. In rear-facing seats, harness straps should lie flat, and be placed through the slot that is at, or below, the child’s shoulders. In forward-facing seats, harness straps should lie flat, and be placed through the slot that is at, or above, your child’s shoulders. When you buckle the harness, it should be snug, with the chest clip at armpit level.
There are inspections sites around the state where you can have you child’s car seat checked to ensure it is proper and safe. Wright County provides this service at the Health and Human Services Center. To schedule an appointment, call 763-682-7516. For more detailed information go to Laws - Child Passenger Safety (mn.gov). Let’s do all we can to keep our precious little passengers safe. — Christine Husom, Buffalo (Editor’s note: Husom is the Safe Communities of Wright County Board Chair.)