Friday, August 3, 2018

Smart Safety: Protecting Your Baby Is Worth the Effort - Car Seat Safety Tips You Need to Know About

For most newborns, a trip home from the hospital happens only a few days after birth. Our little ones go from being cozy and comfortable in mommy's womb for nine months to being jolted around in a car seat while listening to daddy's favorite rock-n-roll song from the 80's. When we bring them home from the hospital, it is our responsibility as the parents to make sure they are buckled up properly in a car seat. In 2013, 638 children who were under the age of 12 died in a motor vehicle crash. Out of these children, 38 percent of them were not wearing a seat belt or buckled in a car seat. 
When children are properly protected with a child restraint, this reduces the risk of death in those who are between the ages of two and six by 28 percent. For children who are between the ages of four and eight, riding in a booster seat reduces the risk of serious injury by 45 percent.
No one denies the safety benefits of car seats. Facts, data, and statistics prove these safety devices save children's lives on a daily basis and as a parent, one of your top priorities should be investing in a quality car seat that not only maximizes comfort by enhances car safety too. 

Car Seat Safety Tips You Need to Know About

The Child Goes in the Backseat

It is highly recommended that your child ride in a car seat for the first few years of his or her life, followed then by riding in a booster seat. It is always recommended that children ride in the back seat because it is, generally, the safest place for a child to be in a crash.

Car Seats Face the Rear of the Car

Until your child is at least 20 pounds, he or she needs to ride in a car seat that faces the rear of the vehicle. This also applies to infants who haven't yet reached their 1st birthday. If your child hasn't reached his or her 1st birthday but weighs more than 20 pounds, it's still best to leave the car seat rear-facing and to invest in a car seat that is approved for a higher weight level. Once the child is 20 pounds and is at least one-years-old, then you can turn the car seat facing forward. Depending on your preferences, you can even leave the car seat facing the rear of the vehicle until the child has reached their 2nd birthday. 

Always Tether the Car Seat

When it comes time to turn the car seat forward facing, it is pertinent that it be tethered with a strap that secures it to the back of the vehicle. The tether serves as a safety device that limits how far your child's head will move during a crash. A tethered car seat will decrease this amount by as much as eight inches, which is crucial to keeping your child safe. Almost all vehicles come with a tether hook that makes it simple to tether the car seat to the car and you're going to want to do this regardless of whether or not you're using the car's seat belt to secure the car seat or low anchors. 

Boosters Are Meant for Many Years to Come

Many people fail to realize their children should be using a booster seat until they are almost in their teens. In fact, according to most recommendations, children up to the ages of 12 should ride in a booster seat. The best way to determine if your child is ready to ride without the use of a booster seat is to make sure you can say yes to all of these six questions?
  • Can your child ride with his or her back against the seat of the vehicle?
  • Do your child's knees reach and bend at the edge of the back seat? 
  • Does the seat belt come over the top of your child's thigh's and not on his or her belly?
  • Does the shoulder belt of the car's seat belt fit securely between the neck and shoulder of your child?
  • Is your child old enough to sit up properly with no slouching?
  • Is your child going to leave the seat belt alone and not play with it?

Remove Large Coats and Outer Layers

When you place a child in a car seat or a seat belt when he or she is wearing a large coat or thick outer layers of clothing, this tricks you into believing the child is securely restrained by the seat belt. This is why you should always remove large coats and thick outer layers of clothing before buckling your child up. According to experts, you should be able to fit only one finger between your child and the safety belt. If you can fit more than one finger, the straps need to be tightened. 

Have a Technician Double-Check You

Did you know the rate of improperly installed and used car seats is as high as 95 percent? This means there's a very good chance you're not using your child's car seat properly. Fortunately, it's quite simple to correct yourself and it starts with having a trained car seat technician double-check your installation and use. 

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

Even with the utmost safety and precaution, it's possible for your child to be injured during a car crash. This is why you should always have a professional car accident lawyer on speed dial. If you or your child are injured in a crash, you should seek medical attention and leave the legalities in the hands of a competent attorney. 

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