By Angel MedFlight Contributor
At Angel MedFlight, we spend much of the time telling you about what goes on in the air in terms of our unparalleled patient care. In this article, we keep things on the ground as we talk about child passenger safety and picking the right car seat for your child.
Next week is Child Passenger Safety Week. It runs Sept. 15-21 and is the perfect opportunity to make sure your child is not only riding in the right car seat but one that is properly installed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds us that, “Children are much more fragile – thus much more vulnerable in a car crash than an adult. It’s not just about putting them in a car seat. The best way to protect children is to place them in the right seat for their age and size, and to install it in the right way, and ensuring that the car seat fits in the vehicle.
This is why every year we feature Child Passenger Safety Week to help parents. The highlight of the week is National Seat Check Saturday, Sept. 21, where parents, guardians, and other caregivers can have their child’s car seat inspected and properly installed by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council have come up with a number of ways to generate awareness about child car safety. Their “Wizard of Oz™” public service announcement is most effective as it shows Dorothy from the beloved film classic, clicking together the heels of her ruby slippers as the narrator says, “getting home safely is just a click away.”
Angel MedFlight calls your attention to a study by the NHTSA. The administration found that 3 out of 4 kids are not as secure in the car as they should be. Why? Because their car seats are not being used correctly.
According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. NHTSA crash data in 2010 showed that almost an average of 2 children (age 12 and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and 325 were injured each day. CDC figures show the fatality rate could be reduced by about half if the correct child safety were always used.
Here are some of the basics to remember when it comes to children riding safely.
- Children under the age of 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. The rear-facing seat has a harness which in a crash cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord.
- Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible as it’s the best way to keep him or her safe.
- It’s time to move your child to a booster seat when he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. But keep them seated in the back seat as it’s safer there.
- Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly
Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance reminds you that National Seat Check Saturday is September 21. If you’re not sure if your child seat is installed correctly, the NHTSA has a handy inspection station locator on its website.