One of the most important choices drivers or passengers can make is to buckle up. You probably understand the importance of wearing a seat belt and having your children wear them, but studies show that nearly 27.5 million Americans still don’t buckle up regularly.

In 2015, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 13,941 lives of occupants ages 5 and older.

The Click It or Ticket campaign is currently underway, during which cops will are stepping up enforcement on motorists not wearing their seat belts. The objective of the campaign is to bring attention to safety education and how seat belts can save lives.

Although the campaign ends on June 4th, your commitment to wearing a seat belt and ensuring you and your children are safely buckled in should not. In support of this campaign, we’re outlining how to wear a seat belt correctly during each stage of childhood.

Here are the stages of wearing a seat belt correctly:

  • Birth to two years old: Children must be in a rear facing car seat at this stage of development to protect their head, neck and back in the event of a collision.
  • Around two to four years old: Once the child outgrows the rear facing car seat, they can be moved to a forward facing seat. (Sometimes, this may not happen until age three.) These seats have a 5-point harness system, so they buckle at each shoulder, at either side of the child’s hips and between baby’s legs.
  • Four to eight years old (and often older): Children should be in a belt-positioning device, such as a booster seat, until they are tall enough to use a normal seat belt. Usually, the height requirement for seat belts is 4 feet nine inches tall.

Children should ride in the backseat until age 13. Once they are ready to move on to a seat belt, make sure they are always wearing it correctly with the 5-step seat belt test. Instilling the importance of wearing a seat belt at a young age will ensure your child will make car safety a priority when they get older!

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