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Using Your Safety Belt

Lap and shoulder safety belts, when properly adjusted, are among the most important safety features in a motor vehicle. When worn properly, safety belts also provide added comfort, reduce fatigue and help keep the driver more alert.

Proper use of safety belts for maximum protection and comfort

  • Sit up straight with your back firmly against the back of the seat.
  • The lap belt should fit snugly across your hips and not be allowed to ride up on your abdomen.
  • After fastening the lap belt, be sure to take up any slack.
  • Never place the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.
  • On many vehicles, there is a mechanism to adjust the shoulder height of the safety belt. Take advantage of this to position the belt for optimum comfort.

Child Safety Seats

All states have child-restraint laws that require children, at least up to age 4, to be properly secured in child safety seats. While you may not have to install a seat yourself, it’s good to know which seats are safest for different children – especially if you ever drive with children in the car.

  • Babies should ride in a rear-facing child safety seat until age two or they reach the upper weight and height limits of their rear-facing convertible seat child safety seat.
  • A rear-facing child safety seat should never be placed in front of an active frontal air bag, which if deployed could cause serious injury or even death.

Once a child has outgrown a child safety seat, he or she should be secured with the vehicle’s lap or shoulder safety belts in a safety belt-positioning booster seat. Children are ready for a safety belt when they are 4’9” – usually between 8 to 12 years of age. Remember, all children under age 13 should ride in the back seat.

Buckle up – everyone

It is crucial that all occupants used a safety belt properly during every ride. When safety belts are used by front-seat occupants, chances of fatal injury are reduced by 45 percent.