When traveling with a young child, you need to understand all the facets of child restraints. In Arizona, it’s the law that if your child is under 5 years of age and/or under 80 lbs, you must use proper child restraints while the vehicle is in motion. The following is a checklist of safety considerations:
- Never place rear facing infants in front seat with passenger-side air bags.
- Infants, under one year AND under20 pounds, should always face the rear of the vehicle.
- Child safety seat needs to be anchored in vehicle by a safety belt.
- All children must be buckled in a child safety seat.
- Place child safety seat harness straps in the slot at or below infant’s shoulder (rear facing) and at or above toddler’s shoulder (forward facing).
- Harness straps need to be snug – no more than one adult finger should fit under harness.
- Harness retainer clip must be at armpit level to hold harness strap properly over shoulders.
- Vehicle safety belt must hold child safety seat tightly and be threaded through correct belt path of child safety seat.
- Check child safety seat for correct size/type for child’s weight and age.
Birth to 20 Pounds (birth to age one):
Infants should be in a reclined infant car seat or convertible seat in the infant position to protect the delicate neck and head. All straps should be pulled snugly. The car seat must face the rear of the car and should never be used in a front seat where there is an air bag. The infant must face the rear so that in the event of a crash, swerve, or sudden stop, the infant’s back and shoulders can better absorb the impact. Household infant carriers and cloth carriers are not designed to protect an infant in a car and should never be used.
Please never place any toys or mirrors around or near the child's face. During a crash these objects become flying projectiles and will injure your child.
5 to 40 Pounds:
The convertible car seat is placed in a reclined rear-facing position until an infant is 1 year and 20 pounds. After children reach at least 1 year and 20 pounds, the convertible seat can be turned forward and placed in the upright position in the back seat of the vehicle. Fasten the convertible car seat with a vehicle seat belt, properly inserting the belt through the car seat frame according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Read the vehicle owner’s manual for specific instructions. A locking clip is needed when using a vehicle lap/shoulder belt with a latch plate that moves freely along the belt.
40 to 80 Pounds:
When a child outgrows the convertible car seat or weighs about 40 pounds, either a belt positioning (backless) or high-back booster seat can be used with a lap/shoulder belt in the back seat of the vehicle. For those vehicles that do not have lap/shoulder belts, the options are limited:
- Retrofit the vehicle with shoulder belts,
- Use a harness or vest system,
- Purchase a new booster seat with harnesses that secure to the vehicle seat with a lap belt.