The CDC reports motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. Younger children are particularly vulnerable, but studies show many of these serious injuries could be prevented by reducing risk factors and using the proper child passenger restraints.

Children are safest when riding in the correct type of restraint for their size and age. When used properly, car seats reduce the risk for injury in a crash by 71-82 percent.

Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), the state’s largest provider of services to children and families is sharing crucial information to increase child safety awareness in motor vehicles:

How to choose the right car seat for your baby:

• Rear-facing car seat (birth up to age 2) Buckle children in a rear facing car seat with a harness until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of their car seat. Keep children rear-facing as long as possible and never place a rear-facing child in the front seat.

• Forward-facing car seat (ages 2-5). When children outgrow their rear-facing car seat, they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of their car seat.

How to properly buckle up your baby:
1. Place baby’s arms and shoulders through the car seat harness straps.

2. Buckle the harness buckle and chest clip. Never leave one undone!

3. Check the harness straps to make sure they’re lying flat and tighten them until they fit comfortably. You’ll know they’re tight enough when you can’t pinch any excess fabric along baby’s shoulder.

4. Check the harness buckle. If there’s a gap between the buckle and baby’s groin, check your manual. Some seats have multiple positions for the harness buckle, or may allow you to use a rolled up washcloth to fill this space.

5. Check the position of the chest clip. It should sit right at the level of baby’s armpits.

Throughout Collier and Lee counties, CHS’ Healthy Families services offers support, tips and guidance for parents and caregivers to keep children safe. All CHS early childhood services are free and help pregnant and parenting families gain access to free resources including diapers, car seats, Pack-and-Plays and more. For more information, visit

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