In MD, DC & VA the laws state that children under age 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for their age, weight and height. Children over age 8 must be properly secured in a vehicle seat belt.
Car seats and booster seats save lives, there is no doubt about it. But, just having the car seat in the car is not enough. Car seats and booster seats can only save lives if they are properly installed and used.
- It is your responsibility to show the au pair how to properly use your car seats and/or booster seats.
- If you expect her to change seats to different vehicles, show her how to install them properly.
- If you do not want her to remove and re-install car seats, make that expectation clear.
- Even if the au pair has a separate car that she is the only one driving the kids in, please check the installation of the seats periodically.
- You are responsible for making sure that you understand how to buckle the children safely in their seats and be sure that they are safely buckled in every time you take them in the car with you.
- The car should not move unless everyone is buckled.
- Make it a habit to check the seats each time you put the children in to see that the seat is secure and not too loose.
- If the seat is not working properly or you cannot figure out how to get it tight, ask your host parents as soon as possible.
- If your host parents have asked you not to remove the car seat(s), please follow that rule.
- If you need to remove the seat for some reason, ask them for help putting the seat back in.
If you need help installing car seats, find a car seat inspection station near you: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm