Know the Road with the CHP: Child Seat Safety Questions

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After our child seat safety special, ABC30 viewers had some questions about child safety seats.

First: how much gap is recommended between the back of a rear-facing child seat and the front seat of your car?

"There isn't a specific measurement for the gap that's recommended," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. "It just can't be touching. Their skeletal structure can't handle a frontal collision," he explained.

"So in the event of a collision, the car seat goes down to the seat cushio and dissipates the energy off the baby's body. It can't do that if it touches the back of the front seat. So just make sure there's a clearance and then there's nothing there so it catches."

Second: a viewer said that they kept their kids in rear-facing seats until they were four and six years old. Is that okay?

"Well, typically not," Pennings said. "First of all, you want to go off the guidelines of whatever the specifications are. If the child is four years old, or six years old, chances are they've exceeded those recommendations for that seating position from the manufacturer."

Third: is there a height limit on booster seats and forward-facing seats?

"Well, there isn't a specific height limit. Typically we recommend the parents read the instructions and the specifications designated by the manufacturer on the child safety seat," Pennings said. "At eight years old or 4'9", typically the child can sit in a vehicle seat with the seatbelt across their hips and chest, without a belt positioning booster."

For other answers from the CHP, go to

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