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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Protect Your Kids in the Car

The safest place for any child 12 years old and under is in the back seat. Every child should be buckled in a child safety seat, a booster seat, or with a lap/shoulder belt, if it fits.

Riding with Babies
Infants up to about 20 pounds and up to 1 year old should ride in a rear-facing child seat. The child seat must be in the BACK seat and face the rear of the car, van, or truck.
Babies riding in a car must never face front. In a crash or sudden stop, the baby's neck can be hurt badly.
Infants in car seats must never ride in the front seat of a car with air bags. In a crash, the air bag can hit the car seat and hurt or kill the baby.
Never hold your baby in your lap when you are riding in the car. In a crash or sudden stop, your child can be hurt badly or killed.
Riding with Young Kids
Kids over 20 pounds and at least 1 year old should ride in a car seat that faces the front of the car, van, or truck.
It is best to keep kids in the forward facing car seat for as long as they fit comfortably in it.
Older kids over 40 pounds should ride in a booster seat until the car's lap and shoulder belts fit right. The lap belt must fit low and snug on their hips. The shoulder belt must not cross their face or neck.
Never put the shoulder belt behind their back or under their arm.
All kids are safest in the back seat, in a safety seat or seat belt.
Always read the child seat instructions and the car owner's manual. Test the child seat to ensure a snug fit by pulling the base to either side or toward the front of the car.
Transport Your Children Safely
When correctly used and installed, car seats can reduce children's fatalities by about 90%, with injuries reduced by 70%. A big problem is that many parents don't know the proper method of restraining their children. Fit for a Kid is a free program offered by Daimler-Chrysler dealers that allows customers to learn how to strap their children in safely, using their own vehicle and car seat.

Kids should ride in car seats on every trip -- even short neighborhood journeys. When a vehicle stops unexpectedly, its passengers are thrown towards the point of impact. An unrestrained child may be thrown into the dashboard, through the windshield, or completely out of the vehicle through a broken window or door. Holding them on a lap or in an adult's arms might seem like a good compromise -- but car seats are substantially safer: an adult's arms aren't strong enough to hold on to a child during a collision, and the weight of an adult can easily crush a small child or infant.

Because of their size, small children and infants can't benefit from most safety features found inside a modern vehicle. Unrestrained, they're much more likely to strike their heads on the inside of a vehicle than adults, who are protected by airbags and safety belts. Children need the protection they get from child car seats. Their soft bone structures, weaker muscles, heavy heads and smaller bodies expose them to greater risk of injury in collisions.

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