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  • Rhode Island law statest that a child under eight years old must be restrained in the rear of the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 500 deaths and 56,000 injuries to children in this age group can be prevented every year if all parents used car seats.

    Here are some tips to keep your child safe and secure:

    • For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
    • When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
    • No more than one finger's worth of space should be between the child and the harness.
    • Use a booster seat until your child weighs at least 80 pounds, is about 4 feet, 9 inches tall and can pass the Safety Belt Fit Test. For most children, that will be between the ages of 4 and 12.
    • The safest place for a child using a car seat is the center rear seat.
    • Carefully follow installation instructions in the car seat and car owner's manuals.
    • Replace any car seat that has been involved in a crash.
    • Children who no longer need booster seats should use both a lap and shoulder belt.

    The best way to encourage lifelong car safety is to set a good example, so make it a habit to abide by the state's new seat belt laws by buckling up.

    For more information, call the Injury Prevention Center at 401-444-5018.