Seat belts are designed to safely secure one passenger in the event of an accident. Sharing seat belts is not an appropriate practice to keep children safe in a car.
It should be noted that all states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring children to be properly secured in either child safety restraints or seat belts while in a motor vehicle. Laws detail what types of child safety restraints are required depending on a child’s age, weight, and height. Most states allow children to use adult seat belts once they reach a certain age or at least 57 inches in height. Ages can range from 5 to 9 for children to use a seat belt without a car seat or booster seat.1
Never Buckle Two Children with One Safety Belt
Taking those laws into consideration, buckling two children into a seat belt may be not only unsafe but illegal as well. Even if the children in question are old enough to be buckled in to an adult seat belt, the safety issues with having two children secured by one belt are potentially catastrophic.
Depending on the ages of the children and the availability of adult supervision, making two trips where all children can be properly and safely restrained is preferable to doubling up. Finding another adult who can drive some of the children is another responsible way to address having more kids than seat belts.
Proper—Individual—Restraints Are the Safest Option
The best way to keep children safe in a car is to have them properly restrained. Sharing seat belts is not a proper way to restrain a child, and it can lead to additional injuries if the car is involved in an accident. Plan ahead and avoid situations where doubling up becomes an option for consideration.
Shortcuts simply aren’t acceptable when it comes to safety. Stay apprised of the most current safety products and technology to keep your family safe on the road and at home. And check out our top auto safety tips for secure driving no matter where you go.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, “Safety Belt Laws”