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Keeping Kids in Car Seats

Posted by Cara Allen - Parenting

How times have changed - when I was a kid there were no requirements about car seats.  (Yes, I know how old that makes me sound - maybe I am writing this from my rocking chair!).  Hopefully, I can give some tips on how to make it easier to get children to not fight their car seats.

Make being in a car seat a habit from the very beginning.  Children will accept it as part of riding in a vehicle. 

Have the rule that you don't go anywhere unless everyone is in, and stays in, their car seat.  If someone wiggles out when you are on the road, if at all possible go back home.  I know that may not be possible if you are on your way to work, but try in as many other circumstances as you can.

Ask each person by name if they are buckled up/in their car seat.  Include yourself so that your children know that the rules apply to everyone.  Parents must wear their own seat belts as an example to their children.  (Plus, you need to be safe too.)

Have your child choose 1 toy to take with them that they can have once they are in the car seat and can have while they are IN the seat.  Make sure they know this rule before they pick out the toy to take with them.

Have an activity bag with a few special things to do that you only do in the car.  Periodically change it around so that there are new things to try. (Don't put tremendous pressure on yourself-you don't have to have a new and wonderful thing every trip.  Just change up when you think of it.)

Even though I left this for last, it is VERY important.  The number of car seats that are not properly installed or used correctly is very scary.  There are usually a number of local events that have car seat checks, so PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take your car seat (in the car in which you use it).  To find out who in your area does car seat safety checks you can call your local health department.  Another good source of information is fire departments (many of them have become certified) or the sheriff's department or state police.  Since law enforcement and fire departments respond to accidents they have a vested interest in making sure that car seats are installed and working properly. 

For information on the laws regarding care seat usage in Illinois, call 1-866-247-0213 or go to

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