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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Be good to your backseat drivers

Between traffic, potholes and detours, driving is stressful enough. Add a crying baby or squirmy preschooler in the back seat and even a quick trip to the corner store can accelerate a parent’s stress level.

Traffic is unavoidable at times, but you’ll feel a lot calmer behind the wheel if you understand the basics of protecting your most precious cargo – your kids.

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According to a recent study in the Journal o​​​f Pediatrics, an average of eleven children a week were involved in fatal car accidents between 2010 and 2014. Of those kids, 43 percent were unrestrained or improperly restrained and another 15 percent were sitting inappropriately in the front seat.​​ Another fact​ to remember, especially in Arizona, is that the Federal Highway Authority also identified that 62 percent of crashes occurred​ on rural roads.​  ​​

Be good to your backseat drivers

Just like when purchasing your family car, choosing a car seat is not all about looks — it’s about safety. When considering what is best for you and your family, remember these​​ Arizona safety laws: ​​​

  • Rear-facing car seats: must be used by infants and toddlers until 2 years of age or until they have outgrown the highest weight or height set by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Forward-facing car seats: must be used by toddlers and preschoolers who have outgrown their rear-facing car seats.
  • ​Booster seats: must be used by preschoolers until they reach 4 feet 9 inches or until they have outgrown the highest weight or height set by the car seat manufacturer.

Remember, these laws are in place to keep you and your family safe.

If you need help installing your car seat or simply have questions, find a car seat inspection station near you and talk to a certified technician. And most importantly, be a good role model by wearing your seat belt at all times. It will help your child form a lifelong habit of buckling up.​

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​​Nicoletta Kennedy is the senior director of marketing and strategic initiatives at First Things First. You can reach her at

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