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New guidelines for car safety seats

Written by Dr. Marc A. Connery. Posted in Community News, Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on April 18, 2012 with No Comments

As families hit the road for spring break

Overheard in a restaurant:

Husband -“I don’t get all these rules about seatbelts and car seats!  I was riding in the back of my pappy’s pickup truck when I was eight and I turned out all right.”

Wife – “Define all right.”

New guidelines for car safety seats for children have come out this year.  And as more families hit the roads for the spring breaks, I would like to present the new recommendations.

Infants and toddlers should have either rear-facing-only seats or rear-facing convertible seats.  Additionally, children should continue to ride rear-facing until they are 2 years old or until they reach the maximum weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.   This major change was made after safety studies showed a 300 percent improvement in injuries sustained.

Toddler and preschoolers should be placed in convertible seats and forward-facing seats with a harness.  All children 2 years or older (or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing seat) should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the maximum weight or height allowed by the seat’s manufacturer.

School-aged children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly.  Typically, this is when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap and shoulder seat belts for optimal protection. All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

Remember that failure to follow that state law may result in fines and points on your license.

If you want more information about car seat laws and seat belt laws, you can always check out www.nhtsa.gov

Finally, just like the airbags in your car are designed for one crash only, so are your children’s car seats.  After a crash, the seat has hidden damage that could cause it to fail in another accident.  You don’t want to take a chance. Give the seat your thanks and retire it to the trash.

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About Dr. Marc A. Connery

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Dr Connery is an Illiana native who has lived the majority of his life in the region. As a board certified pediatrician he sees children from birth to 21 years for preventive health and acute care services. After 10 years of local service he has set up his own practice, Brickyard Pediatrics in Hobart, IN accepting new patientfor most insurances including medicaid.  He can be reached through his website www.BrickyardPeds.com and by phone at 219-940-9605.

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