Every year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in crashes, mainly because 3 out of every 4 children in child safety seats are not properly secured, or even worse, not restrained at all, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
To help ensure their child is safer in a crash, the Logan Police Department urges parents to guard against these mistakes.
1. Not using a safety seat. Whether an infant, toddler or booster seat-age child, parents should always use the appropriate child restraint system every time their children are in a vehicle. Safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers according to NHTSA. And, using a booster seat with a seat belt for older children instead of a seat belt alone reduces the risk of injury by 59 percent.
2. Not reading safety seat instructions. With thousands of combinations of child safety seats and vehicle belt systems, it’s important for parents to read both the vehicle owner’s manual and the child safety seat instructions before installing a seat to ensure it’s done properly.
3. Using restraints for older children too soon. Whether it’s turning an infant forward-facing or progressing into an adult seat belt, parents frequently advance their children into the stage of safety restraints too soon. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their recommendations for rear-facing toddlers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers not be turned to face forward until they are at least age two and the maximum weight for the seat. All children under age 13 should be placed in the back seat.
4. Installing safety seats too loosely. When a child safety seat is properly installed, it should fit tightly, and not move more than one inch in any direction. Use either the vehicle’s seat belt or LATCH system to secure the safety seat—but not both, unless approved by the vehicle and car seat manufacturers. If using a seat belt, make sure it is locked to hold the seat snugly in place.
5. Adjusting seat harnesses incorrectly. Safety seat harnesses should always be snug and lie flat without twists. Harnesses should be at or below the child’s shoulders when rear-facing and at or above the shoulders when forward-facing in order to hold the child’s body upright and against the seat. The chest clip should be positioned at armpit level.
6. Keeping loose items in vehicle. Any loose items in a vehicle, such as purses, laptop bags or umbrellas can become dangerous projectiles in a crash or sudden stop and cause severe injury to a child, other passengers or the driver. Make sure to secure loose items and provide children with only soft toys to play with in a vehicle.
This and more information found at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/Is-your-carseat-installed-properly.html