One of the leading causes of childhood deaths is preventable thanks to issues with car seats. To help educate drivers, Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is educating parents and caregivers with the Buckle Up for Life national safety program about the proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts.

Since launching back in 2004, Buckle Up for Life has impacted more than 100,000 people. In addition, they have given more than 60,000 car seats to families in need. But the work to keep little ones safe is far from over. With Toyota’s support, Buckle Up for Life continues to provide guidance and education throughout the year on

In honor of National Safety Month in June, Buckle Up for Life is sharing expert advice to help families keep their little ones safe: 

Use the “Inch Test” and “Pinch Test”: Once your child is buckled into their car seat, pinch the strap near their shoulders. If you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. Then grab the car seat at the bottom where it is attached to the car and tug from side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an inch in either direction, the seat should be tightened.

Car Seats Do Expire: Make sure you check the expiration date on your car seat, as the plastic in the seat and the integrity of the fabric in the straps can degrade over time. The expiration date can usually be found on a sticker affixed to the seat or the registration card.

Don’t Use Towels: While car seats can get hot in the summer weather, you shouldn’t place towels between your child and their car seat to assist in keeping them cool. That’s because that extra material could potentially interfere with the seat’s ability to restrain the child in the event of a crash.

Secure Loose Items in the Car: Make sure all loose items are tightly secured in your vehicle, as these objects could become projectiles in the event of a crash.

Don’t Rent a Car Seat: If you are traveling this summer and renting a car, make sure you use your own car seat. When renting a car seat you don’t know important facts about its history that could affect its ability to protect your child. The good news is that most airlines allow you to check your car seat for free.

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