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Let's see, there's "Click it or Ticket!" "No Belt, No Brains," and "What's Holding You Back?" But no matter how you say it, one thing is clear: Buckling up on every ride is the single most important thing a family can do to stay safe in the car. Here are a few tips to make buckling up a part of every car ride.
Seat belts save more than 13,000 lives a year. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. Only 53 percent of high school students reported always wearing a seat belt when riding with someone else.
Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder safety belts until your child passes the following Safety Belt Fit Test:
- Be sure your kids are ready for a seat belt by giving them the following Safety Belt Fit Test:
Your children's knees should bend at the edge of the seat when their backs and bottoms are against the vehicle seat back; and
The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs; and
The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.
- Once your children pass the Safety Belt Fit Test, teach them the importance of using seat belts on every ride, whether they're with you or not. This is a habit you can instill at an early age. If they learn this lesson early, they'll be more likely to buckle up when they're older or when you're not around.
- Kids are VIPs – just ask them. VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all kids in the back seat until they are 13.
- When adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
- A lap and shoulder belt provides the best protection for your children and should be used on every ride.
- We know kids like to slouch or lean against the windows during the drive, but it makes a difference in terms of safety. Have your children sit upright when using seat belts.
Learn more about other areas of safety in and around cars, including car seat safety and booster seat safety; how to protect your kids from heatstroke in cars; driveway safety; how to avoid getting trapped in the trunk; and how to prepare teens and preteens for driving before they get behind the wheel.