Car Seat Safety Tips to Best Protect Your Children

Here is a sobering truth: every day we lose 4 to 5 children in car crashes. They are the leading cause of death for kids in this country and yet most of us are completely untrained in the best way to keep our kids safe from them: by properly installing a car seat.

“Across the country we find a greater than 95% misuse of car seats,” says Alisa Baer, M.D., a pediatrician and nationally certified child passenger safety instructor (who’s also known as The Car Seat Lady). But, don’t beat yourself up. What looks like just another piece of shiny, plastic baby gear is actually a sophisticated and complicated piece of safety engineering, and sometimes it takes an engineering degree to use it properly. So we spoke with three car seat safety professionals to find out what we’re doing wrong and how to do it right.

Mistake #1: Picking the wrong seat for your child’s age, height, or weight

“A lot parents try their best, and still can’t figure this out,” says Lorrie Walker, training manager and technical advisor for Safe Kids Worldwide. “Others may be thinking they can stretch an infant seat until they need a booster and save a little money.” But while there is no link between the cost of the car seat and its effectiveness, take the time you need to make sure you have the right seat for your child.

The fix:

1. Research seats to find one that fits your child’s age, weight, and height.

2. Check the manual and measure your child’s growth periodically so you know when it’s time to move on.

3. Follow the new American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on how long to keep your child rear-facing.

4. Never buy a used seat. There’s no way to know for sure if it has been in an accident, and even seats that have been in the family may be missing parts, or expired. Car seats generally have expiration dates six years after manufacturing.

Source: Parenting


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