If there is one safety measure that can be tricky for parents, it is car seat installation. How to properly install a car seat can vary so much depending upon the type of vehicle and the car seat itself. Different features, manufacturers and instructions can make installing the car seat overwhelming for any parent. To remind parents the importance of proper installation, this week is Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept 15-21, 2013) and tomorrow is Car Seat Check Saturday (September 21st).
Background on Child Passenger Safety Week:
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 1 through 12 years old. Based on NHTSA crash data in 2010, almost an average of 2 children (age 12 and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and 325 were injured each day. This fatality rate could be reduced by about half if the correct child safety seat were always used.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the goal of Child Passenger Safety week is To make sure all parents and caregivers are properly securing their children (ages 0-12) in the best car restraint (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, seat belt) for their age and size.
Here are some helpful tips from Safety 1st Consumer Safety Expert Julie Vallese.
Importance of Rear Facing
In March of 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their car seat recommendations advising that children should remain rear facing until the age of two, or until they reach the maximum height and weight requirements allowed by their car seat. According to a study in the Journal of Injury Prevention children under the age of two are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in the event of a car crash if they are rear facing. When a child is rear facing their head, neck and spine are better supported and in the event of an accident, crash forces are distributed over the child’s entire body.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly. Every car and car seat has different requirements for the safest installation so before you get started it is important to read both the car seat and car manual.
Typically the center rear seat is the safest place for a car seat, and never install a car seat in the front seat. If your car does not have a latch connector for the middle seat, you can use the middle seat belt to properly secure the base. When installing, make sure the base of the car seat moves no more than an inch from side to side. An easy way to test this is to hold at the belt path.
New parents and grandparents are encouraged to attend a car seat check before the baby is born. However, don’t just rely on the experts. You’re likely going to be taking the car seat out and installing it somewhere else at some point, so make sure you’re comfortable with the process too.
Car Seat Expiration
Never use used or old car seats. Car seats do have an expiration date and it is to understand the risks associated with using an expired or old car seat. The reason for an expiration date is because plastic can warp and materials can fray, which can make car seats less safe to use. Car seat technology and state and federal car seat regulations change. A car seat deemed safe more than six years ago may no longer meet federal testing regulations. Important warning labels may wear out and instruction books may get lost, which can lead to improper use of the car seat
Find a Car Seat Check
Please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to find a car seat check in your area.
Safety 1st has introduced their BoostAPak Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat which makes traveling with a booster even more convenient!
The BoostAPak is designed to help keep kids in boosters longer, as it’s often hard to get an older child to stay in his or her booster seat. However, for children 4 to 7 years old, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts alone. (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). Additionally, the AAP recommends children ride in boosters until the age of 12 or 57 inches; but only 13% of children 54-56 inches tall ride on one (NHTSA)
In honor of Child Passenger Safety Week, I have a Safety 1st® BoostAPak Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat worth $69.99 to give away to one lucky reader!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I have been compensated through the Safety 1st Ambassador Blogging Program which also included samples. Some information shared has been provided by Safety 1st. My thoughts are my own.