The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their 2006 ratings for Child Safety Seats in June. In general, the seats are safer than they were last year. In 2006, 85 of 99 seats received an “A” rating, as opposed to only 74% of the seats in 2005. The administration attributes this to clearer instructions and labels.
In addition to the overall rating, the administration rates how well the seat performs in five categories: assembly requirements; clarity of label; clarity of written instructions; ease of securing child; and ease of installation in a vehicle.
To find out how your child’s safety seat compares, review the NHTSA Child Seat Charts.
In addition to these rankings, it is very important that the safety seat be properly installed. Most local fire stations assist parents with this.
D.C. offers inspection and instruction once a month from 11-3 on a drop-in basis. To find out which day the service is being offered or to schedule an appointment on a different day, call (202) 727-1778.
Outside of D.C., please contact your local fire station.
Here are links and contact information for Maryland fire departments.
Here are links and contact information for Virginia fire departments.