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Be Sure Your Child is Properly Secured in Their Car Seat, Booster Seat or Seat Belt

Posted 09-28-18.

(PLEASE NOTE: The Sevierville Police Department is participating in the National Child Passenger Safety Week, which takes place from September 23-29. As part of the event, SPD will conduct a child car seat check-up event on National Seat Check Saturday, September 29. Agencies across the nation will be holding child car seat events on that day. The SPD event will be at the Police Department (300 Gary Wade Blvd.) in the Municipal Complex from 10AM-2PM.)

Correct harnessing or seat belt fit ensures your child is securely positioned in a car seat, booster seat, or vehicle seat, and is able to take advantage of the crash protection that the harness or belt provides.

The harness holds the child down low in the car seat so he/she does not slide up and out of the car seat in a crash. Incorrect harnessing—often a loose harness or a retainer clip that is too low—is an extremely common misuse. Correct seat belt fit, for children in boosters or transitioning out of boosters, is very important and also a common error.

Proper Seat Belt Fit
For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest, and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.

Correct Car Seat Harnessing
If a child is riding rear-facing, the harness straps should originate AT OR
BELOW the child’s shoulders. If a child is riding forward-facing, the harness straps should originate AT OR ABOVE the child’s shoulders. To test for tightness, use the ‘pinch test:’
Buckle the harness and secure the chest clip, and then pull the harness adjuster to tighten the harness. Pinch the harness webbing at the child’s shoulder vertically between your thumb and forefinger. If you are able to pinch webbing between your fingers, the harness is not tight enough. It should be snug but not tight enough to injure the child’s skin. If the harness is tight enough, your fingers should slide easily off of the webbing when pinched.

For more child car safety seat tips and advice, visit safekids.org. For more information on Tennessee's Child Restraint laws, refer to T.C.A. 55-9-602.