8News Special Report: Child Car Seat Safety - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

8News Special Report: Child Car Seat Safety

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RICHMOND (WRIC) - Your children may not be safe in their car seats.

75 percent of kids are in seats not properly installed.

But the rules are changing this month, so 8News looked into whether parents need to shell out some cash for a new seat.

Lindsay Spears is the mom of two little boys, ages 2 and 4.  Car safety seats are just part of their routine and have been since they were babies.

But Spears, like many parents, was unaware the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has new guidelines that just started this month that deal with a  child's weight and the correct way to install the safety seat.

Heather Board, car safety seat expert with the Virginia Department of Health, says parents should be informed of the maximum weight limit between the weight of the safety seat and the weight of their child.

The LATCH system, which stands for "lower anchors and tethers for children," was developed back in 2002 to make it easier for parents to install car safety seats. The metal hooks or latches are now found in most cars.

The new guidelines say the LATCH system should only be used when the combined weight of the seat and the child is 65 pounds or less.

If the weight of child and seat equals more than 65-pounds, you can still use the same seat. Just use a snug seat belt to secure it instead of the LATCH system. The weight limit is designed to prevent over stressing of the metal anchors in the backseat, if there's a crash.

In addition, there will be new labeling on all safety seats so parents know exactly how much it weighs. Typically, it's between 15 and 33 pounds.

"That's the good part of the new labeling system," Board says. "They will already take into account the weight of the seat and then the maximum weight of the child."

"It looks like we're pretty close to making the switch," Spears says. "So, that's something I didn't realize we needed to start paying attention to how quickly he's coming up on that, but we definitely will now."

Experts say it's best to take big bulky jackets off your kids before you strap them into their seat. It makes for a more secure fit.

if you have any questions, call the information hotline at 1-800-732-8333 or go to safetyseatva.org.


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