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TEMPORARY COVID-19 RELATED CHANGES

Due to the current pandemic, our partner agencies have made temporary changes to their car seat fitting schedules. 

  • Boston Medical Center has suspended all in-person fittings.
  • Boston Children's Hospital has suspended all in-person fittings but has recently begun offering virtual fittings. For more information email injurypreventionprogram@childrens.harvard.edu or call 617-355-7332.
  • Boston EMS is continuing to offer in-person fittings but on a limited, appointment only basis to Boston residents. For more information call 617-343-6891.
  • UMASS Memorial Medical Center is currently offering virtual car seat checks by appointment only. For more information email carseats@umassmemorial.org.

Although local fittings are largely unavailable at the moment, your child's car seat manufacturer is always available via email and phone for assistance on properly installing a booster or car seat. During this time, a wide range of manufacturers are also providing virtual guidance. Visit the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) for more information.

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Child Passenger Seat Guide

Below are videos from Safe Kids Worldwide on how to install a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, a booster seat and when to move from a booster to a seat belt.

REAR-FACING CAR SEAT INSTALLATION

 


FORWARD-FACING CAR SEAT INSTALLATION

 

BOOSTER SEAT INSTALLATION

 

MOVING FROM A BOOSTER SEAT TO A SEAT BELT

 
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Seasonal Safety Information

Heatstroke: Heatstroke begins when your internal body temperature reaches 104 degrees. A child left in a car can reach an internal temperature of 104 degrees very quickly, 3-5 times faster than an adult. The inside temperature of a car can increase by about 20 degrees within 20 minutes and about 40-50 degrees, or more, in an hour. Leaving the window cracked does not slow the heating process enough to prevent the vehicle and child inside from overheating. To prevent heatstroke or death, always remember to take your child with you when exiting your car, even if it's "just for a second".

 

Hypothermia: Hypothermia begins when your body starts to lose heat faster than your body can create heat to keep you warm. Children lose heat much faster than adults and are at higher risk of hypothermia. Some signs of hypothermia include: cold skin, shivering, low energy, drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, exhaustion, poor coordination. Turning on the heat to leave the child alone in a vehicle can reduce the risk of hypothermia but can increase the risk of hyperthermia, which is when the body overheats (heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia). To prevent hypothermia or death always remember to take your child with you when exiting your car, even if it's "just for a second".

NEVER LEAVE A CHILD IN A VEHICLE UNATTENDED

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General Safety Information

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children. Unrestrained or improperly restrained children are more likely to be injured or suffer injuries in a crash. To keep them safe for every ride, children should always be buckled up, or properly secured in a car seat that is appropriate for their age, height, weight, and development. 

Car seats save lives when they are properly installed. According to Boston EMS, at least 9 out of 10 car seats are not installed correctly in Boston. Therefore, it's important to learn to correctly use the car seat by reviewing the instructions from the car seat manufacturer as well as the vehicle owner's manual. If you need assistance, a Child Passenger Safety technician can help. 

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Recommendations 

Choose the right seat based on your child's age, weight, height and development. Check the car seat manufacturers' instructions for the exact age, height and weight limits of each seat.

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***Download the full version of our Buckle Up Boston Guide***

  • Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible and in the back seat through age 13. 
  • Only move your child to the next car seat when they outgrow the weight or height limit.
  • Most convertible car seats have limits higher weight and height limits that allow children to ride rear-facing longer. 
  • Never add accessories to your child's car seat for comfort that did not come with the packaging. 
  • For a seat belt, the lap belt must lie across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest.
  • Dress your child in nothing thicker than a sweatshirt in their car seat. Place your child's coat or blanket over them for warmth.
  • Never leave your child alone in the car to prevent overheating. Keep your phone, bag or other item in the back seat to remember to bring your child with you.
  • Whether it's a car seat or seat belt, make sure everyone is always buckled up for every drive. 

Car Seat Inspections & Installations

Schedule a free car seat inspection with a Child Passenger Safety technician. Boston residents can schedule an appoint​​​​​​ment using the guide below, and non-residents can find a technician in their area he​re

Car Seat Inspections (2).pngDownload the full version of our Buckle Up Boston Guide

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MA State Requirements

  • Children must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured until they are 8 years old OR over 57 inches tall. 
  • Children ages 8 through 12 must wear a properly fastened safety belt.
  • A police officer can stop your vehicle if a child age 12 or under is not properly restrained.
  • Children under the age of 13 must be seated in the back seat of a moving vehicle and should not sit in the front passenger seat.
  • Visit Massachusetts Car Seat Safety for more information.
*The Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law was amended in July 2008 to include booster seat requirements*

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Additional Resources

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org