Child Car Seat Safety
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one preventable cause of death among children 14 and under. Over half of the children who die in motor vehicle crashes die either because they were improperly restrained or left unbuckled all together. When used properly, child safety seats have shown to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars. In addition, studies have found misuse rate for child safety seats of over 80 percent nationwide, with misuse as high as 95 percent in some areas.
Before transporting any child, take a minute to make sure that he or she is riding safely. Study your vehicle owner’s manual and car seat instructions carefully. The best safety seat is one that fits the child and the vehicle properly and is easy for you to use correctly on EVERY ride.
The selection of a car seat should be based on a child’s weight, age and height. Until a child is at least one year old and at least 20 pounds, he or she should ride in a rear-facing care seat. A child over one year and between 20 and 40 pounds can ride in a forward-facing car seat. Children over 40 pounds, usually between the ages of four and eight years (unless 4 feet 9 inches or taller), should be in booster seats. Most children over 80 pounds and eight years of age can fit correctly in a lap and shoulder belt.
Car Seat Safety Tips
- As a rule, children age 12 and under should always ride in the back seat.
- A child safety seat should be installed as tightly as possible without causing damage to the vehicle. Once installed, there should be no more than one inch of side-to-side or forward movement at the seat’s base.
- Never place a rear-facing infant in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
- Rear-facing infant seats should recline at approximately a 45-degree angle.
- In rear facing seats, harness straps should be at or below shoulder level.
- In forward facing seats, harness straps should be at or above shoulder level.
- Harness straps should fit snugly on a child, with the clip at armpit level.
- Belt positioning boost seats must be used with lap and shoulder belts.
- After purchasing a child safety seat, be sure to send in the registration card so you’ll be notified of any recall information.
- Replace any child safety seat that has been involved in a vehicle crash.
Never leave a child unattended in a car even for a few minutes-- it can be fatal.
On days that seem almost mild as well as hot summer days parents need to be vigilant about their children’s safety in and around a car. Remember to follow these safety precautions:
· When leaving the vehicle, make sure all child passengers are out of the car.
· Keep car doors locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway.
· Teach your child not to play in or around cars.
· Watch children closely around cars, particularly when loading or unloading items.
· Don’t overlook sleeping infants. Resist the urge to leave a sleeping baby or toddler “just for a minute” alone in the car.
· If your child gets locked inside a car, seek assistance immediately by calling 9-1-1.
For more information contact the National safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline at 888-DASH-2DOT or their website www.nhtsa.dot.gov.