Child Safety

Baby Car Seat, Infant Car Seat, Booster Seat Information, with Auto Dangers

Auto accidents kill more children than any other type of incident. Reduce the likelihood of injury to your baby, toddler or small child by applying child safety practices to auto safety and choosing a safe baby car seat, infant car seat or regular car seat. Additionally more then 2,400 children visit emergency rooms each year after being struck by or rolled over by a vehicle backing up according to kidsandcars.org. Auto safety involves very specific and important safety practices which we've outlined for you below.

ALIVE PAST 5'S PARENTING TIPS AND PRIORITIES FOR CHILD SAFETY IN CAR SEATS:

1. Choose a new car seat (not used even if it looks OK, it could be structurally unsound), with a label that states it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.

2. Choose the right size seat for your child. Since auto accidents are the #1 killer, you need the best possible car seat safety protection. Don't be thrifty here and try to protect your infant in a car seat meant for a large toddler, use an infant car seat. Keep your child in a five-point harness. Here's why > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azgBhZfcqaQ

baby car seat3. Position the car seat in the center position of the back seat, and rear facing for as long as possible.

Here's why > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRP7ynNI8mI

4. Secure your baby or child properly in the car seat. Read all the manufacturer's instructions. Do not wing it and assume you know how it works.

5. Use it 100% of the time. Do not succumb to a fussy baby. NEVER ride with the baby out of the car seat. Pull over when safe to do so and wait until the situation is under control.

6. Drive defensively! No drinking and driving, no cell phones, no hitting the gas on yellow, no speeding and look both ways for red light runners when you are approaching intersections. 

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Check out the Fact Sheet from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/childpas.htm

According to The National Center for Statistics and Analysis Reports (2007 Data), the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants (younger that 1 year old) and by 54% for toddlers (1-4 years old) in passenger cars. For infants and toddlers in light trucks, the corresponding reductions are 58% and 59%, respectively. Every day in the United States, an average of 5 children age 14 and younger were killed and 548 were injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2007. (1)

Children are dying at a record pace after being left in the car by a parent or caregiver.NHSTA has provided some safety tips to prevent accidental hyperthermia deaths in children:

• Never leave any child unattended inside a motor vehicle.
• Never leave infants or children in a parked motor vehicle with the engine running and the air conditioning on, or the windows cracked.
• Make it a routine habit to look in your vehicle before locking the doors and walking away.
• If you normally bring your child to daycare, and your spouse happens to take the child instead, have your spouse or partner call you to verify the child arrived safely at daycare.
• If you happen to see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call the police immediately.
o Warning signs of hyperthermia include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, nausea, acting strangely, and a strong rapid pulse or slow weak pulse. Attempt to cool the child immediately and contact 911 or your local emergency medical services.

 

CAR SEATS:

Infant-Only Seats (Birth to 20-22 Pounds)
Start with an Infant only seat. Infant-only seats fit newborns and smaller infants best and you will have to buy another seat as your baby outgrows it. Infant-only seats are designed to protect babies from birth until they reach 20 to 22 pounds (about 10 kilograms), sometimes more, depending on the model.

Infant car seats should always be installed to face the rear of the car because in a crash the back of the safety seat cradles head, neck, and torso. Infants should be rear facing until they are at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds, though it is recommended that infants stay rear facing until they reach weight or height limits as prescribed by the manufacturer.

A baby who weighs more than 20 pounds (about 10 kilograms) but has not yet reached 1 year of age should still ride in a rear facing seat, because the baby's neck is typically not strong enough to support the baby's head in the event of a crash. Follow the height and weight guidelines on the child safety seat, and you will want to keep your child in a seat that faces the rear as long as it's possible and the seat still fits.

Many infant-only safety seats are also very convenient because they're designed to double as carriers, chairs, strollers or rockers when not used in the car. Many models detach right from the base, allowing you to leave the base installed in the car.

Try to limit the amount of time your infant spends in the car seat while you're at home or while the baby is at childcare. Too much time in the car seat may limit your baby's movement and opportunities for stimulation, which help infants develop sensory and motor skills. 

Convertible Seats (Birth to 40 Pounds)

infant car seatsConvertible seats are designed to protect kids from birth up to 40 pounds (19 kilograms) or more, depending on the model. Convertible seats are the only type of seats that are placed in different positions depending on a child's age: They face toward the rear until a baby is 20 to 35 pounds (10 to 16 kilograms) and at least 1 year old and can be turned to face forward after that.

However, many of the convertible seats on the market allow a child to remain rear facing up to 30 to 35 pounds (14 to 16 kilograms). It is recommended that you use the seat rear facing as long as the instructions allow.

Convertible seats are heavy and not very portable. Yet they can be economical because it may not be necessary to buy a separate infant-only seat. It is also a good option for larger babies who outgrow their infant-only seat before 1 year and still need to be rear facing.

If using a convertible seat, make sure it fits your child correctly — a small child in a large seat may not be the best option. Models with tray shields should not be used for newborns — the shield comes up too high on them, and in a crash, the baby's face could hit the tray.

Forward-facing only (20-40 pounds)
Forward-facing car seats are designed to protect children from 20 to 40 pounds (about 10 to 20 kilograms) or more, depending on the model. If you used an infant-only car seat, you can switch to a forward-facing model when your child is at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds. Kids should stay in a car seat with full harness until they are at least 4 years old before switching to a booster seat.

Combination car seats are also available that allow you to remove the harness to switch from forward- facing child safety seat to belt-positioning booster seat. Refer to the forward-facing convertible seat for toddler's information to review proper installation of forward-facing car seats and how to harness your child.

Built-in or integrated car seats can be found in some vehicles. As with other forward-facing car safety seats, built-in seats are for kids 1 year of age and older and at least 20 pounds. Some convert to belt-positioning booster seats. Weight and height limits will vary so be sure to check your owner's manual.

 

Booster Seats (40-80 Pounds)
When your child reaches the maximum weight allowed for the car seat or your child's ears have reached the top of the car seat, you'll need to switch to a booster seat. Booster seats are designed for kids who have outgrown forward-facing or convertible safety seats but are still too small to be properly restrained by the vehicle's seat belts. Many states have passed laws requiring booster seats for kids up to 8 years old and 80 pounds (37 kilograms), or 4 feet 9 inches (about 150 centimeters) tall.

Booster seats come in many styles. Belt-positioning boosters raise kids to a height where they can safely use the car's lap and shoulder belts. They come in high-back or backless models: High-back boosters are recommended when the car has low seat backs, and backless boosters may be used if a child's head is supported up to the top of his or her ears by the vehicle's back seat or head support.

Combination seats can be used with harnesses as a forward-facing safety seat up to about 40 pounds (19 kilograms) or as a belt-positioning booster seat when harnesses are removed when the child weighs more than 40 pounds (19 kilograms).

Shield boosters (with no back and a shield tray in front of the child) are designed for cars with lap-only belts, but they do not provide adequate upper-body protection. If your car doesn't have shoulder belts in the back seat, consider having them installed by the dealer.

If that's not possible, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping any child older than 1 year and between 20 and 40 pounds (10 and 19 kilograms) in a convertible or forward-facing seat. Kids who weigh more than 40 pounds (19 kilograms) should never use shield boosters unless the shield is removed and the seat is used as a belt-positioning seat with the vehicle's lap and shoulder belts.

 

Using a Seat Belt Without a Booster
Kids can stop using a booster seat when they're big enough to use the vehicle's lap and shoulder belts while sitting with their back against the vehicle's seat back and their knees bent over the edge of the seat without slouching. The lap belt should rest low, on top of the thighs, and the shoulder belt should lie comfortably across the middle of the chest.

Kids should be able to remain in this position throughout the entire trip. This usually happens when a child reaches a height of 4 feet-9 inches (about 150 centimeters).

Remember, the shoulder strap of the seat belt should never be fastened behind a child's back or under his or her arm. And you should never buckle two kids (or an adult and a child) under one seat belt — a crash could cause their heads to collide.

 

Air Bags and Kids
When combined with safety belts; air bags protect adults and teens from injury during a collision. They have saved lives and prevented many serious injuries. But infants and children can be injured or even killed if they are riding in the front passenger seat when an air bag opens.

Air bags were designed with adults in mind: They need to open at up to 200 miles per hour to protect an average-sized, 165-pound (75-kilogram) male from injury. While this force is appropriate for adults and bigger kids, it can be dangerous for smaller passengers, possibly resulting in head and neck injuries.


Protect kids from air bag injury by following these rules:

All kids 12 years old and younger should always ride in the back seat, and in the middle of the back seat whenever possible. All passengers must have their seat belts buckled.
Air bags present a serious danger for babies riding in rear-facing car seats. Never place a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat of a car that is equipped with a passenger-side air bag.
Child safety seats should be placed in the back seat only.

A law passed in 1995 allows car manufacturers to install a manual cut-off switch that temporarily disables a passenger-side air bag. As recommended by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you must place a child in a car seat in the front seat (that is, if your car is a two-seater or if the car seat will not fit in the back seat) and your car has this cut-off switch, disable the air bag for the duration of the ride. Be sure to switch the air bag back on when you remove the car seat.


The LATCH System
Since September 2002, most new vehicles have safety seat anchorage points and most safety seats have anchor attachments.

One of the problems with installing safety seats properly has been incompatibility between the car seat and the vehicle. The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system was devised to make installation easier because it does not require use of the car's seat belts.

Instead, a tether strap secures the top of the safety seat to an anchorage point either on the rear shelf area, the rear floor, or the back of the rear seat of the car, depending on the vehicle model. Lower anchors secure attachments on the bottom of the safety seat to a point located between the car's seat cushion and seat back.

You should use LATCH only in seating positions recommended by both the vehicle manufacturer and the car seat manufacturer. Never use both the seat belt and LATCH to install a car seat. Choose whichever method secures the car seat best.

Most forward-facing safety seats made after September 1999 are equipped with top tether straps, and most vehicles made after September 2000 have tether anchors. Since September 2002, most new vehicles also have lower safety seat anchorage points and most safety seats have lower anchor attachments.

If your vehicle or safety seat was purchased after these dates and didn't come with tethers or anchors, call the manufacturer.

 

Importance of Child Safety Seats
It may seem obvious that restraining your infant or small child in a car seat at all times is essential but I have seen unrestrained small children in cars. Don't let your fussy baby or child impede your good sense in keeping them secured at all times the car is moving. If you must attend to a fussy child, exit and park your car in a safe place until you and your child is ready to continue. Using a child safety seat (car seat) is the best protection you can give your child when traveling by car. Every state in the United States requires that an infant or small child be restrained — and with good reason. Child safety seats can reduce the risk of a potentially fatal injury substantially for babies in particular and also for toddlers.

When choosing any car seat, following some general guidelines will help ensure your child's safety. The best car seat is not always the most expensive one — it's the one that best fits a child's weight, size, and age, as well as your vehicle. Many safety seats are used incorrectly.

Once you select a seat, be sure to try it out, keeping in mind that store displays and illustrations might not show the correct usage. It's up to you to learn how to install a car safety seat properly and harness your child for the ride.

If you need help installing your safety seat or would like a technician to check whether you've installed it properly, the federal government has set up child seat inspection stations across the country.

Also, many local health departments, public safety groups, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and fire departments have technicians or fitting stations to assist parents. (Don't assume that just because you go to one of these locations, their staff will be certified to help you install your seat. Ask if a certified child passenger safety technician is available.)

If you have any concerns about a closed out model call the manufacturer to find out how long they recommend using the seat and if it was ever recalled. Recalls are quite common, and the manufacturer may be able to provide you with a replacement part or new model.


For More Info about selecting and installing a car seat go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website and select the topic: Child Passenger Safety

For More Info: Click this link on car seats which has more detail and current 2009 specifics from the American Academy of Pediatrics

http://www.aap.org/family/Carseatguide.htm

 

 

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