|Sun, Mar 26, 2017 06:22 AM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
June is National Safety Month. Please join Our Lady of the Way Hospital in recognizing the importance of child safety seat regulation. Research has shown the effectiveness of child safety seats in the reduction of fatal injury in passenger cars. According to the National Center for Statistics & Analysis, safety belts saved an estimated 1,889 lives in occupants over four years old in 2000.
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death of children over the age of six months in the United States. The proper use of child safety seats is one of the simplest and most effective methods available for protecting the lives of our young children in the event of a motor vehicle crash.
Because three in ten children ages four and under ride without any restraint at all and of those buckled up four of five are not restrained correctly we want to stress the importance of buckling up children.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were a total of 41,821 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2000. The one to 14 age group accounted for six percent of those traffic fatalities and another 797 were injured.
Many parents, grandparents, and babysitters do not know the guidelines for child safety seat regulation and continually put their children at risk for serious injury or death on our roadways.
The following are the most recent guidelines on child safety seats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Birth to age one - infants, babies from birth to at least age one and 20 pounds, should ride in rear-facing infant-only safety seats for as long as possible within manufacturer’s instructions. Infants who outgrow the infant-only seat before age one should ride in a convertible rear-facing child safety seat with a certified rear-facing weight limit of at least 30 pounds. Infants in rear-facing child safety seats must never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. A rapidly inflating air bag can strike the rear-facing seat, seriously injuring or killing the child.
One to four years old - children older than age one and weighing more than 20 pounds should ride in convertible or forward-facing only seats. These seats are to be used until the child weighs 40 pounds and is approximately age four. Be sure the harness straps are at or above shoulder level unless instructions state otherwise. Have children ride in the rear seat whenever possible. When a child rides in the front seat, make sure the seat is pushed back as far as possible away from the air bag.
Four to eight years old - Children who have outgrown child safety seats should be properly restrained in booster seats until at least age eight or until they reach a height of 4’9”. Many parents and especially grandparents skip booster seats and move their children into an adult seat belt, which does not properly fit anyone under the height of 4’9”. Children who are not in the proper seat run the risk of getting head injuries in a car crash, and can receive abdominal injuries that can be entirely prevented by using a booster seat.
Eight and older and at least a height of 4’9” - the lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should rest over the center of the shoulder and across the chest. If this is not the case, the child must remain in a booster seat until they have developed appropriately to allow for proper safety belt fit. The child must keep his back against the vehicle seat back with knees naturally and completely bent over the edge of the seat with feet flat on the floor. Never allow a child to put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back.
Do not use a child’s car seat that is more than 10 years old, does not meet vehicle safety standards, has been affected by a public notice or recall, does not include a manufacturer’s date, has been dropped or involved in a collision.
Never ride with a child in your lap, even for short distances. Also, never put a child under 12 years-of-age in the front seat of a vehicle. Lastly, set a good example: use your seat belt every time you travel.
As of September 1, 2002, child car seat and automobile manufacturers were required to have a new child safety seat installation system called LATCH. According to Jeffrey W. Runge, MD, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator, this new system, when used properly, is expected to save up to 50 lives a year and prevent 3,000 injuries in a crash.
Attachments on LATCH-equipped child seats fasten to anchors in LATCH-equipped vehicles, thus reducing the incompatibility between the child restraint and the automobile. Owners of vehicles, not LATCH system-equipped, should continue using their current seat belt system to install a child safety seat.
Please buckle up any child you transport in a motor vehicle. Be aware of the facts regarding the proper use of child safety seats, and drive sober, safe and buckled.
For more information regarding child passenger safety or other community health education topics, contact Our Lady of the Way Hospital’s Community Health Education Department at 606-285-5181, extensions 6000, 6001, 6002, and 6003.