33% of all children who die in car wrecks are not properly restrained. We can and must do more to protect them!
Under Alabama law, children must be properly restrained when riding in a motor vehicle. The type of restraint depends on their age and weight:
- Children under the age of 1 (up to 20 pounds) — must always ride in a rear-facing, infant-only car seat.
- Children 1 to 5 years old (up to 40 pounds) — must be placed in either a rear-facing car seat or a forward-facing car seat.
- Children 5 to 6 years old — must travel in a booster seat, until they are big enough to properly fit in a seat belt.
- Children (and adults) over 6 years old — must wear a seat belt.
(Source: Alabama Code § 32-5-222; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Signs).
These requirements are different (and somewhat less restrictive) than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recommendations:
- Children under the age of 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
- Children 1 to 3 years old should either be in a rear-facing car seat or forward-facing car seat.
- Children ages 4 to 7 should be in a forward-facing car seat with a harness, until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer.
- Children 8 to 12 years old should travel in a booster seat, until they are big enough to properly fit in a seat belt.
- Once children outgrow their forward-facing car seats (usually at or around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in a booster seat, in the backseat, until the vehicle’s seat belt fits correctly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 57 inches tall).