Thursday, July 17, 2008
Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in the United States? It’s true. But concerned parents should take heart. Car seats and other safety restraints are designed to protect your children every time they travel, beginning with the trip home from the hospital. Riding with proper safety restraints is the most significant way to protect your children in the event of an accident. In fact, studies estimate that the lives of more than 300 children under the age of 4 were saved by child restraints in 1999. In addition, properly used car seats reduce the risk of death by more than 70 percent and decrease the need for hospitalization by nearly as much. Many different kinds of safety restraints are available, but how can you tell which is best? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics(www.aap.org), no one type of seat is “safest” or “best.” Each depends on the needs of you and your child. For example, the car seat that’s right for your family should be designed for your child’s height, weight, and age, and should be able to be securely installed in your car. When you find the seat that seems to work, don’t hesitate to try it out. Use these tips to provide the most safety for your baby. Infants should be in rear-facing car seats until at least 20 pounds and at least 1 year old. Never put a rear-facing infant or convertible safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger air bag. Read your car seat instruction manual and vehicle owner’s manual carefully for proper installation. The seat should be locked tightly against the vehicle seat, and it should not move more than one inch forward or side to side. Model responsible behavior and wear your seat belt at all times. For parents who still may want to seek a second opinion to ensure the proper user of their car seat, Trident Health System partners with Safe Kids Trident Area to offer monthly car seat safety checks. These checks are held the first Tuesday of each month from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Northwoods Mall parking lot near the Trident HealthFinders entrance. “We encourage you to stop by to learn the proper techniques to keep your child safe while traveling,” said Belinda Riffee, Trident HealthFinders Manager. For more information, call Trident HealthFinders at 797-FIND.