Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Precious cargo on board
If you have children, you know how important it is that they're secured when you're driving with them. But did you know incorrect usage of a car seat is common — and that even a minor mistake in usage can cause serious injury?1 Here are some tips that may help you use your child's car seat correctly:
Never put an infant in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag — even if you think it’s been disabled.
Route harness straps in lower slots at or below shoulder level.
Keep harness straps snug and fasten the clip at armpit level.
Make sure the straps lie flat and aren’t twisted.
Dress your baby in clothes that allow the straps to go between the legs. Adjust the straps to allow for the thickness of your child’s clothes. Don’t use bulky clothes that could increase slack.
To keep your newborn from slouching, pad the sides of the seat and between the child’s legs with rolled up diapers or blankets.
When in the car, put the car seat carrying handle down.
For the best neck protection, infants should ride in the backseat facing the rear of the vehicle until at least 1 year of age and 20 pounds. Then they can ride in forward-facing child car seats (still in the backseat). Recline the rear-facing seat to a 45-degree angle. If your child’s head flops forward, the seat may not be reclined enough. Tilt the seat back until it is level by wedging firm padding, such as a rolled towel, under the front of the base of the seat.
To keep the car seat from being thrown forward in a crash, all new seats are required to be equipped with top tether straps — a belt that’s attached to the car seat and bolted to the window ledge or the floor of the car. Tether kits are also available for most older car seats — check with the manufacturer.
For more information about infant or toddler car seats, go to the Web site of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Also check out the National SafeKids Campaign which offers a free Child Car Seat Locator. Enter your child’s age and weight, and you can view a list of recommended car seats.
Is your child ready for a regular seat belt?
Children should be in an appropriate car seat or booster seat until they’re about 8 years old, unless they are already 4 feet and 9 inches or taller.2 After that, they should be properly seated with a lap and shoulder belt. Children age 12 and under should remain in the rear seat. All passengers should wear lap AND shoulder belts at all times. Laws can vary by state and municipality. See the IIHS List of State Laws for Vehicle Restraints or the Inventive Parent Car Seat Laws page.
Secure your precious cargo
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children from ages 1 to 14 and many of these deaths involve children that are unrestrained.3 Many are also avoidable with the proper use of the proper car seat. Give me a call: I can give you more information so that you can secure your precious cargo and enjoy your travels.