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Car Safety for the Youngest Passengers: Backwards is Best

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Kids in child safety seatsMADISON, Wis. — If you plan to take your infant or toddler for a Sunday drive this spring, be sure your child's safety seat is properly installed.

Jim Savage, child safety coordinator at American Family Children's Hospital, says four out of five seats are used incorrectly, and because of that, children could be seriously hurt in a crash.

He says the two most common misuses are that the child safety seat isn't adequately secured in the vehicle, and the harness straps used to restrain the child aren't snug enough.

"The car seat should be installed tightly so that you can't move it easily more than an inch from side to side," he says. "The safety straps should be snug and not twisted, and clipped at armpit level."

Recent studies show that keeping children in rear-facing car seats for a longer time reduces their chances of serious injury in a crash by as much as five times.
 
"At minimum, rear-face infants and toddlers until age one and 20 pounds, and after that keep them rear-facing as long as the manufacturer of the car seat will allow," Savage said.
 
Many car seats allow kids to ride rear-facing until they reach 35 pounds.

Date Published: 04/30/2009

News tag(s):  safe kidschildren

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