Diane Hammonds, the Branch Manager for Sain’s Louisiana [...]
By: Diane Hammonds
This week is Child Passenger Safety Week! One of the simplest things we can do to protect our kids is to put them in the right car seat for their age, weight and height! Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Anyone who knows me knows this is a passion of mine. As a transportation engineer, we are often called on to review the crash data for projects we are involved in, and it is absolutely heartbreaking to read of the death of a child that was not properly restrained. One simple action can save many children. According to the CDC, car seat use can reduce the risk for death to infants (<1year) by 71% and toddlers (1-4 years) by 54% in passenger vehicles.
Did you know that car seats expire? Yes, it is true! Car seats expire and should not be used after the expiration date or if involved in a crash (regardless of the severity).
Did you know that rear facing is safer? Yes, it is! The American Pediatric Association (APA) now recommends that children rear face until they reach the maximum height and weight limit of the seat, removing the previous age recommendation of 2 years. This gives the nod for extended rear facing. For some seats the rear facing limitations extend to 65 lbs. Height is also important so, be sure to check that too!
This can all be very confusing. The laws in most states are not as stringent as recommendations from the American Pediatric Association (APA), so what as a concerned parent have I learned? Get educated. Rear facing is safer. I often joke that knowing what I know, I would rear face if I could!
The APA also recommends that kids ride in a belt positioning booster seat until they are at least 4’9” and are ages 8-12. They also recommend that all children under age 13 should ride in the back seat.
There is help! Did you know that there are people trained to install car seats? They are called Child Passenger Safety Technicians and are located in many convenient locations throughout the country and it is FREE to have them check your seat! They are trained to provide guidance on how to install the seats as well as determining the appropriate seat for your child. Our local State Police office near my home in Louisiana hosts these checks every Tuesday afternoon. We stop in regularly for a check in!
September 29th is National Seat Check Saturday! Go get your car seat checked to make sure it is properly installed AND appropriate for your child’s height and weight. Many events will give you an appropriate seat if you don’t have one. It is free and easy to do, so let’s all do our part to protect our little ones!