Keep Kids Safe With the Proper Car Seat

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Car Safety Seats: Information for Families


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MADISON - Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new recommendations on the use of car safety seats.


Per the recommendations, parents should keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. Many car seats allow kids to ride rear-facing until they reach 35 pounds.


"Even before the recommendations were released, we told parents to keep their children rear-facing as long as possible," said Jim Savage, child safety coordinator at American Family Children's Hospital. "When kids are riding rear-facing, they're five times less likely to be injured in a crash because of the support for the head, neck and spine."


In addition, the new AAP guidelines recommend parents use a belt-positioning booster seat until children are 4 feet 9 inches in height and between 8 and 12 years of age.


"So many parents are shocked when we explain the recommendation is 4 feet 9 inches," said Savage. "They've got kids who are 10 or 11, and they can't image needing a booster seat. But for safety reasons, kids need one in order for the seat belt to work properly."


For children who have outgrown the booster seat, the AAP recommends all children under age 13 should ride in the rear seat for safety.


Proper Use of Car Seats


Having the correct car seats for children doesn't matter if it's not installed properly. And, according to Savage, 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."


About Car Seats


Confused about what is the best car seat for your child? Experts at the Kohl's Safety Center in American Family Children's Hospital can help. The Center offers an array of child safety seats for sale, and can assist you in learning how to properly install the seat.


Date Published: 03/21/2011

News tag(s):  childrenouruwhealth

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