My dad is a paramedic. He has been before I even had kids and my oldest is almost 7. Hearing stories from him has set me straight for life on making sure my kids will always be in the right car seat.
Did you know?
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 1 through 12 years old. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the goal of Child Passenger Safety week is to make sure all parents and caregivers are properly securing their children (ages 0-12) in the best car restraint (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, seat belt) for their age and size.
Car Seat Safety Tips From Julie Vallese, Safety 1st Consumer Safety Expert.
Importance of Rear Facing
In March of 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their car seat recommendations advising that children should remain rear facing until the age of two, or until they reach the maximum height and weight requirements allowed by their car seat. According to a study in the Journal of Injury Prevention children under the age of two are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in the event of a car crash if they are rear facing. When a child is rear facing their head, neck and spine are better supported and in the event of an accident, crash forces are distributed over the child’s entire body.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly. Every car and car seat has different requirements for the safest installation so before you get started it is important to read both the car seat and car manual. Typically the center rear seat is the safest place for a car seat, and never install a car seat in the front seat. If your car does not have a latch connector for the middle seat, you can use the middle seat belt to properly secure the base. When installing, make sure the base of the car seat moves no more than an inch from side to side. An easy way to test this is to hold at the belt path. New parents and grandparents are encouraged to attend a car seat check before the baby is born. However, don’t just rely on the experts. You’re likely going to be taking the car seat out and installing it somewhere else at some point, so make sure you’re comfortable with the process too.
Car Seat Expiration
Never use used or old car seats. Car seats do have an expiration date and it is to understand the risks associated with using an expired or old car seat. The reason for an expiration date is because plastic can warp and materials can fray, which can make car seats less safe to use. Car seat technology and state and federal car seat regulations change. A car seat deemed safe more than six years ago may no longer meet federal testing regulations. Important warning labels may wear out and instruction books may get lost, which can lead to improper use of the car seat.
Most importantly you need to remember there is help out there. If you are unsure if your car seat is correct for your little one or if it is installed correctly contact your local state trooper and have them check it out. I have one check mine once a year. If money is tight and you can afford to get a new car seat because yours has expired or your little one is ready to upgrade contact your local WIC office they can help if they can’t they will know of a program in your area that can.