SIDNEY — “Since school is getting ready to start up, we’re seeing a lot of kids in cars,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview.
And with schools reopening after being shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lenhart reminds parents and grandparents to have the proper car seat for the age of their child or grandchild.
Lenhart said he gathered information about car seats and seat belts from the National Highway Safety Council and CDC.
“The No. 1 killer of children between the ages of 3 and 18 is not using seat belts or proper car seats. There are 128,000 injuries to children every year. Nationwide, 675 children were killed last year,” said Lenhart.
He said parents should make sure the car seats they buy for their children are compatible with the type of vehicle they own.
“When you buy a car, size wise it will require a like size car seat,” he said.
A shoulder belt, he said, should go across the child’s chest and not neck. A lap belt should be on the child’s upper thighs and not stomach.
A booster seat or car seat should be used on every trip the child takes. Any child 12 years of age and younger should be riding in the back seat of the vehicle.
A child’s age and weight will determine what type of car seat they need, he said.
“Remember that not all car seats will fit in all vehicles,” he said.
An infant, he said, should be in a car seat which faces the rear of the car. They will stay riding backwards until they reach a specific age and weight.
“They might outgrow their infant car seat at about one year of age,” said Lenhart. “You’ll have to buy another car seat — a convertible car seat — that is rear facing and then can b e converted to front facing.”
Lenhart said usually a child will sit rear facing in the vehicle from birth until they are around two years old. Between ages two and three, the child can begin to face forward in the car seat.
A child will transition to a booster seat when they are around seven or eight years of age and depending on their weight.. They will stay in the booster seat until age 12.
“Children 12 and older can wear a regular seat belt,” said Lenhart.
Every child, he said, should be in a car seat any time they are traveling in a vehicle.
“And parents, grandparents should set a good example by using their seat belts too,” said Lenhart.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.