Despite growing public service advertising campaigns and state enforced child restraint laws, information collected from agencies such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports the notion that parents still need to do more to protect their children while driving. According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are still a leading cause of death and injury among children in the United States.
Further investigation has shown that one in every three children involved in a fatal car accident was not buckled up or incorrectly restrained. Many of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper use of car safety restraints such as car seats, booster seats or seat belts.
It is estimated that proper usage of car seats reduces the risk of death for babies by 54%. In children between the ages of four to eight years old the use of booster seats decreases the risk of premature death by 45%. In older children the proper use of seat belts reduces fatalities by approximately 50%.
Safety precautions vary with children’s ages. Parents need to practice and enforce appropriate seat belt, car and booster seat use. By following these tips they can reduce the risk of injuries if involved in a car accident.
- Children under the age of one: Children should always be secured in a rear-facing car seat.
- Ages one to three: Your child should continue using a rear-facing car seat until they outgrow the recommended height requirement suggested by the car seat manufacturer.
- Ages four to seven: If your child has outgrown the recommended height requirement for a rear-facing car seat, they can graduate to a forward-facing car seat that is secured with a harness and seat belt.
- Ages seven to twelve: Once your child has outgrown the car seat it’s time to use a booster seat. Continue to use the booster seat until they fit properly in a seatbelt. To ensure that the seat belt is a proper fit, make certain that the shoulder belt lies snugly across the shoulder and chest and the lap belt lies across the upper thighs.
With more traffic on the road this holiday weekend, take extra precautions if you’re travelling by car. To learn more about child car safety please use resources provided by organizations such as the NHTSA (www.nhtsa.gov), the CDC (www.cdc.gov) and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ www.healthychildren.org.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.