Tips to protect your family on the road:
Utah Child Restraint Laws
- Children seven and under must be restrained in an approved child safety seat or booster unless the child is 57” or taller.
- All persons 18 and under must be properly restrained in a vehicle by wearing a seat belt.
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death to children in America. You can cut the risk of your child’s death almost 70 percent by using appropriate safety restraints while traveling in your car.
The Right Seat at the Right Time
- Infants: As a guideline, infants under age two and weighing less than 30 pounds need to be placed in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat. It is best to leave your child rear-facing as long as possible. For specific weight guidelines for your car seat, consult the owner’s manual.
- Toddlers: Children over two years of age weighing 30 to 40 pounds should ride in a front-facing car seat in the back seat. Make sure your child’s forward-facing seat has the harness straps in the slots at or above the shoulders. When using a traditional convertible seat, the harness straps must be in the top slot.
- Older Children: Children who are 40 to 80 pounds and under 57 inches tall should use a federally-approved booster seat in combination with the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt. Never use a booster seat without a shoulder belt. These children should continue to ride in the back seat until the age of 13.
Basic Car Seat Safety Tips
- Never place a safety seat in the front seat of a car. Regardless of the type of safety seat you use, the front seat is dangerous, especially if your vehicle has air bags.
- Snugly secure the belt holding the safety seat in the car and the harness holding the child in the safety seat.
- Make sure your car seat fits properly in your car. Check the vehicle owner’s manual and the safety seat instructions for proper placement procedures.
- Send in the safety seat registration card. Doing so will keep you informed about any updates or recalls of the product.
- Destroy a child safety seat if it has been involved in a crash. Damage that affects a seat’s ability to withstand another accident is not always visible. Destroy the seat, even if it still looks like it is in good condition.
- Avoid secondhand safety seats. Use a secondhand seat only if it has instructions, the manufacturer’s date and model number on it, and has never been in a crash.
- Never use an expired safety seat. Those seats do not meet safety standards and are too old to be safe. The life of a car safety seat is about six years.
When can my child move into an adult seat belt system?
Parents can determine if their child is ready to move into an adult seat belt system by using the following guidelines:
- Does the child sit all the way back against the vehicle’s seat?
- Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat?
- Does the shoulder belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible across the pelvis and touching the thighs?
- Can the child stay seated this way for the entire trip?
Seat Belt Basics
- Children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat with the seat belt buckled.
- Always use both the lap and shoulder belts.
- Never allow children to place the shoulder strap under their arms or behind their back.
Lead the Way
- Always wear your safety belt and insist that those who ride with you do the same.
- Use a car seat beginning with the first time you take your baby in the car.
- Always secure your children in the car and then secure yourself.
- Always secure booster seats when child is not present to prevent it becoming a projectile object in the event of a crash.
Printable brochures on road safety are available online:
To order copies of these Puzzled by Car Seat Safety flyer, contact Primary Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy department, (801) 662-6580.