Drive Michigan SafelyMotor vehicle travel in Novi is a fact of life and the primary means of transportation, providing an unprecedented degree of mobility. Yet for all its advantages, deaths and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for persons of every age category. The mission of the Novi Police Department is to reduce deaths, injuries, and economic losses from motor vehicle crashes. 

Fortunately, much progress has been made in Novi to reduce the number of injuries on our city's streets.

For Novi Police Officers, the mission of reducing injuries remains the primary goal. One factor in reducing the number of traffic injuries is a compliance rate in regards to safety belt usage at 81%. This percentage represent compliance, but a statistical number that needs to become 100%. Not only is it the safe thing to do, but on March 10, 2000, it became the law. As of that date, Seat Belt usage in Michigan became a primary law, meaning that the motoring public can now be stopped and cited for non-compliance. However, much remains to be done. The economic costs alone of motor vehicle crashes in Novi are in the millions of dollars.

ABC Campaign
Booster Seat Law
Children and Air Bags
Child Safety Seat Use Chart
Child Safety Tips
LATCH Child System


ABC Campaign

Always slide the seat back - and sit back!
Buckle Everyone!
Children in Back!

Air bags and seat belts save lives.  But they are designed to work together.  Everyone should be buckled and children should be properly restrained in the back seat.  Remember, the most important safety step in any vehicle is to buckle your seat belt - on every ride.  Children riding in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an air bag comes out in a crash.  Crashes are violent and fast.  So to protect you, an air bag comes out of the dashboard in the blink of an eye with great force.  It can hurt those who are too close to it, particularly those unbelted.  Prevent serious injuries by following these critical safety points:

  • Children 12 and under should ride properly restrained in a rear seat.
  • Infants should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
  • Small children should ride in a rear seat in child safety seats approved for their age and size.
  • Check your vehicle owner's manual and the instructions provided with your child safety seat for correct use information.
  • Everyone should buckle both lap and shoulder belts where available.
  • Drivers should sit at least 10 inches from the center of the steering wheel to their breastbone for the clearest margin of safety.

Since research shows driver belt use determines child belt use, strengthening enforcement of seat belt laws nationwide will bet more children and adults buckled up.

Booster Seat Law

Children must be in a booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall.

Children must be in a seat until they reach the age requirement or the height requirement, whichever comes first. For example:

  • If your child is over 8 years old, but under 4’9” tall, the law does not apply.
  • If your child is under 8 years old, but over 4’9” tall, the law does not apply.

Remember: In both of these cases, your child may be safer in a booster seat but it is not required by law.

Types of booster seats

A booster is a seat that boosts a child up so that the seat belt fits properly. There are two types of booster seats, no-back and highback.

A no-back booster can be used when the vehicle seat/head rest supports the child’s head.

A high-back provides head and neck support and can be used on vehicle seats with or without head restraints.

ALL booster seats MUST be used with a lap/shoulder safety belt.

More information

Best practice is to keep your child in a car seat with a “5-point” harness until they are at least 40 lbs. before using a booster seat. Some car seats have higher forward-facing harness weight limits of 40-65 lbs. Some forward-facing seats also convert to a high-back booster. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and choose a seat that is right for your child and fits in your vehicle.

Booster seats are readily available in many retail stores.


Children and Air Bags

Most new cars have air bags for front-seat passengers. When used with lap/shoulder belts, air bags work very well to protect older children and adults who ride facing the front of the car. Air bags do not work with rear-facing child seats (those used with infants). Airbags could seriously injure or even kill an unbuckled child or adult who is sitting too close to the air bag or who is thrown toward the dash during emergency braking. In a crash, the air bag inflates very quickly. It could hit anything close to the dashboard with enough force to cause severe injuries or even death. Because the back of a rear-facing child seat sits very close to the dashboard, the seat could be struck with enough force to cause serious, or even fatal injuries to a baby. Even older children (who have outgrown child seats) are at risk from a deploying air bag, if they are not properly restrained with a lap/shoulder belt.

The rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride. An infant in a rear-facing child seat must ride in the back seat if your vehicle has a passenger side air bag (babies under 1 year and 20 pounds should always ride in a rear-facing seat). Make sure that everyone in the front seat is properly buckled up and seated as far back from the air bags as is reasonably possible. Make sure that all young children are properly secured in a child safety seat and older children by a lap/shoulder belt. Know how to properly install your child seat in the vehicle. Read both the owner’s manual for the vehicle and the instructions for your child safety seat.

Child Safety Seat Use Chart

Buckle everyone.  Children age 12 and under in back!

Info Infants Toddler Young Children
Weight Birth to 1 year
at least 20-22 lbs.
Over 1 year and
Over 20 lbs.-40 lbs.
Over 40 lbs.
Ages 4-8, unless 4' 9''.
Type of Seat Infant only or rear- facing convertible Convertible / Forward-facing Belt positioning booster seat
Seat Position Rear- facing only Forward-facing Forward- facing
Always Make Sure: Children to one year and at least 20 lbs. in rear- facing seats

Harness straps at or below shoulder level

Harness straps should be at or above shoulders

Most seats require top slot for forward-facing

Belt positioning booster seats must be used with both lap and shoulder belt.

Make sure the lap belt fits low and tight across the lap / upper thigh area and the shoulder belt fits snug crossing the chest and shoulder to avoid abdominal injuries

Warning All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat All children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat

Child Safety Tips

Q: "Where is the safest place in the vehicle for my child?"
A: A back seat is the safest place for any child to ride.

Q: "Can I use a Car Seat that has been in a crash?"
A: NEVER use a car seat that has been in a crash. Car seats are designed to withstand the forces of one crash only.

Q: "What is the best car seat to buy my child?"
A: The best car seat is the one that meets your child’s weight/ height/age requirements, is compatible with your vehicle and meets current FMVSS 213 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) standard requirements.

Infants under 1 year of age should:

  • Face the rear of the vehicle
  • Be semi-reclined
  • Be snugly fastened in a car seat in the back seat of the vehicle

Toddlers between 20 and 40 pounds should:

  • Face the front
  • Sit upright
  • Be snugly fastened in a car seat in the back seat of the vehicle

Kids between 40 and 60 pounds should:

  • Face the front
  • Ride in a booster seat used with a lap/shoulder belt
  • NEVER place a rear-facing infant in front of an air bag

Q: "At what age and weight should I turn my infant around to face forward?"
A: An infant should face the rear of the vehicle until he/she is at least 1 year old and at least 20 lbs. to reduce the risk of cervical spine injury in the event of a crash.

Q: "Where should my children sit properly restrained in my vehicle which has a passenger air bag?"
A: The back seat is the safest place to ride for children of any age. Air bags have been designed to help protect adults in front-end collision and not children. It is very important that all children age 12 and under are properly restrained in the back seat. NEVER put an infant in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag (unless you have a manual cut-off switch and you have turned it off!)

Q: "Where can I receive more child passenger safety information?"
A: You can call the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline at 800-424-9393 or visit their website.

Q: "What are the different types/styles of car seat available?"

  • INFANT-ONLY SEAT: Infants up to least one year and less than 20 lbs. (about 26 inches) should be in a rear-facing car seat. Infant only seats are always used in rear facing position. If an infant outgrows the weight and height limits before his /her first birthday, use a convertible seat in the rear-facing position that has been approved for weight greater than 20 lbs. NEVER place a rear facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag (unless you have a manual cut-off switch and you have turned it off)
  • CONVERTIBLE SEAT: Convertible seats should be used for infants and toddlers between birth and 40 lbs. The convertible seat should be placed in the rear facing position for an infant, this would be a child that is from birth to 20 lbs. and to at least 1 year of age. You can position a convertible seat to forward facing for toddlers or preschoolers, when they attain 20 lbs. or more and are at least 1 year of age. They can remain in a convertible seat generally speaking until about 40 lbs. and about 4 years of age. Of the three different types of restraint systems (5-point harness, T-Shield, Tray Shield) the 5-point harness is preferred because it allows a tighter fit around the child from infant–size to toddler-size.
  • FORWARD-FACING SEAT: For toddlers and preschoolers who are over 1 year of age and over 20 lbs. to about 40 lbs. and about 4 years of age. Some forward facing seats convert to a belt positioning booster seat by removing the 5-point harness and using the lap and shoulder safety belt. This forward facing / belt positioning booster seat may be the best solution for tall children who have outgrown the convertible seat by the height requirement (40 inches) and may still be under 40 lbs.
  • BOOSTER SEAT: The booster seat should be used only for children who have outgrown the convertible seat or forward facing seat at 40lbs. / 40 inches, usually 4 years of age. The booster seat should be used up to 80 lbs. (about 8 years of age) and until the child can correctly wear both the lap and shoulder safety belt. There are three types of booster seats:
  • Belt Positioning Booster.
  • High Back Belt-Positioning Booster.
  • Shield Booster.


LATCH Child System

LATCH is a new system that makes child safety seat installation easier—without using seat belts. LATCH is required on most child safety seats and vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2002. LATCH is not required for booster seats, car beds and vests. 

How does LATCH work?

LATCH-equipped vehicles have at least two sets of small bars, called anchors, located in the back seat where the cushions meet. LATCH-equipped child safety seats have a lower set of attachments that fasten to these vehicle anchors. Most forward-facing child safety seats also have a top strap (top tether) that attaches to a top anchor in the vehicle. Together, they make up the LATCH system. 

How do you install a LATCH-equipped child seat?

  1. ALWAYS read and follow the vehicle owner’s manual and child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions for correct installation and proper use. 
  2. Fasten the child safety seat’s lower attachments to the vehicle’s lower anchors. Tighten and adjust according to the instructions and check for a secure fit. 
  3. Attach the child safety seat’s top tether to the vehicle’s top anchor and pull to tighten. The child safety seat should not move more than an inch forward or sideways. NOTE: Tethers are not used on most rear-facing child safety seats. 

NOTE: Most vehicles will have lower anchors in the left and right rear seat positions. If there aren’t anchors in the center seat position, you can still safely install any child safety seat using a seat belt. 

What if a child safety seat isn’t LATCH-equipped?

These seats must meet the same high standards and are safe if: they are installed according to the vehicle owner’s manual and child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions; haven’t been recalled; and haven’t been damaged. Child safety seats that don’t have LATCH should be installed using seat belts, even in LATCH-equipped vehicles. 

What if a vehicle isn’t LATCH-equipped?

Any child safety seat, even one with LATCH, can be safely installed using a seat belt and, if available, a top tether, following the vehicle owner’s manual and child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions. If the vehicle doesn’t have a top anchor, contact the manufacturer or dealership to see if it can be retrofitted.