Securing a safe ride for kids

Safety is the most important part of driving your children from point A to point B.

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of deaths among kids. Many of these injuries are preventable.

A reliable car seat installed correctly reduces death and injury among children by as much as 82% versus children who only use a seat belt. However, The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) states 59% of car seats are currently installed incorrectly and thousands of vehicles are effected by car seat recalls each year.

Whether you are about to buy a car seat or already have a car seat for your child, keep these tips in mind.

Before you start your car

  • Read the manual. Each vehicle and car seat are built a little differently. Take the time to see what car seat will work for your vehicle and how to properly install it.
  • Keep kids in the back seat. All kids 12 and younger should stay in the back seat away from air bags that can cause additional injuries. Be sure to use the proper restraint system based on your child’s height and weight.
  • Avoid buckling harnesses over winter coats. Bulky coats or jackets may not secure your child the way the car seat is designed.
  • Check tightness of belts and the seat. The seat should not move more than one inch in either direction. Also, the belts should be tightened until you cannot pinch any extra strap at the shoulders.

Car seat stages

Height. Weight. Age.

If you have this information for your child, the NHTSA has an online tool that can help you determine which car seat is right for your family. There are three stages of car seats as your child grows.

Stage 1: Rear-facing seats

From birth through at least age 3, make sure the car seat is rear-facing. Install the car seat base at the correct angle noted in your car seat’s directions.

Keep your child rear-facing until they outgrow either the height or weight requirements–even if that means age four or older.

Stage 2: Front-facing seats

Once your child outgrows forward-facing car seats, transition to a car seat with front-facing capabilities.

Make sure these belts are secured:

  • Lap belt: Snug across upper thighs, but below their hips
  • Shoulder belt: Across the center of the chest

Stage 3: Booster seats

Switch to a booster seat when your child exceeds the forward-facing seat limit. This typically happens when your child is 4’9” in height and between the ages of nine and 12.

Make sure these belts are secured:

  • Lap belt: Snug across upper thighs, but below their hips
  • Shoulder belt: Across the center of the chest

Keep your child in a booster seat until the car’s seat belts securely do the following:

  • Lap belt: Lay across upper thighs
  • Shoulder belt: Lay across chest

Not sure if your car seat is installed correctly? Was the vehicle in an accident? The NHTSA can help you locate a car seat inspection station near you, including ones that can make virtual appointments or determine if your car seat can still be used following a fender bender.

For more information on how to keep your children safe in car seats, please talk to your local independent agent and view our infographic.

Staying seated

At The Hanover, we believe strongly in child safety. That's why we automatically include car safety coverage with all of our Hanover Platinum Protection policies. This coverage provides up to $300, with no deductible, to replace a damaged car seat when the damage takes place as a result of a covered loss.

Source: Center for Disease Control, National Highway Traffic Safety Association

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation.  By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC July 2018-326