Traveling Safely to and from School (Car)
- All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must
drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the
front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat
if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.
- All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat
or booster seat.
- Your child should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and then ride
in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when she has
reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top
harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat.
- Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's seat belt fits
properly (usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 to 12
years of age). This means that the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back
with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the
middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug
across the thighs, and not the stomach.
- Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from
school. You should require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, do not
allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations or texting to prevent driver distraction;
and limit nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. Familiarize yourself with
your state’s graduated driver license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver
agreement to facilitate the early driving learning process. . For a sample parent-teen
driver agreement, see the last two pages of the AAP Policy Statement, "The Teen Driver."