Car Safety for Children
By Christa J Koch
vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children in the United
States! This horrible statistic is made worse when we discover that 75% of
child fatalities and 50% of child injuries could be eliminated with the
consistent and correct use of child safety seats and safety belts! Educate
yourself about your responsibility as a caregiver/parent to provide the
children in your care with the protection that law and common sense
dictate. When you drive with children in the car, children must be in
safety seats and belts and in them correctly!
Placing children in safety seats is not the
end of the problem. Statistics indicate that up to 50% of children who
are placed in seats may be placed incorrectly. This can lead to injury
or death! It is important to educate yourself in order to protect
your child. Safety seats are safety equipment! Buy the correct child
seat according to the child's weight, height, and developmental ability.
Check safety seat and vehicle safety belt system compatibility. If
buying second hand, ensure that the seat has not been in an accident,
that it meets federal standards, has all necessary belts, buckles, and
clips and that manufacturer directions are available. If it is missing
any of the mentioned, pass it by. Not all child seats can be installed
in all vehicles and all seating positions. With numerous models of child
seats, almost 300 models of passenger vehicles, and the wide range of
belt systems available today, correctly installing a child seat can be
challenging. The best way to be sure your child seat is compatible with
the vehicle you are considering is to test it before you purchase or
lease the vehicle. Be sure to read the child seat’s instruction manual
and review all information in the vehicle owner’s manual concerning
correct installation. Once the seat is installed, check it by firmly
pulling the base of the child seat from side to side and forward. The
child seat should not move more than one inch in any direction.
Whether you have a front passenger side air
bag in your vehicle or not, remember that children are always safer in the
When children out-grow forward-facing safety
seats, they need to be restrained in belt-positioning booster seats –
until they are big enough to fit properly in an adult seat belt. Children
who cannot sit with their backs straight against the vehicle seat back
cushion, with knees bent over a vehicle’s seat edge without slouching,
are not big enough for adult seat belts.
Many Parent skip this very important step. Children
generally outgrow convertible child safety seats when they are about 40
lbs. From 40 to about 80 lbs. and about 4’9” tall, children should
always be seated in a belt-positioning booster; lifting them so adult
lap/shoulder seat belts are “positioned” correctly and safely. Plus,
booster seats offer children better visibility and comfort.
Conditioning your children at a young age to wear a seatbelt is the only
way to go. Not only is your child safer, but the driver will have their
attention more on the road and driving then on what their child is doing
or getting into.
Many car companies are adding child safety seats to their car models.
These permanent seats are designed to restrain children at least 1 year
old and at least 20 pounds in a forward-facing position. Because they are
built into the vehicle, these seats are an effective restraint system for
children. Built-in child seats have an advantage over add-on child seats
because they do not have compatibility problems with the vehicle’s seat
design or seat belt systems. Dodge is one car manufacturer that is
starting to offer these permanent seats. In their 2001 caravan, dodge
offers for the little ones an optional integrated child
seat that faces the front and provides more convenience than a
conventional child seat. Their new child seat LATCH anchoring system
provides direct, consistent attachment of portable, compatible aftermarket
child seats to the vehicle backseats for improved protection.
We need to work together to protect and
educate all children. Always take care to buckle up the children you care
for. Then be sure to buckle up yourself!
About the Author: Christa Koch is the proud
owner/developer of the website www.preschooleducation.com.
She has been teaching preschool children for over 13 years ,and has loved
every minute of it. Christa lives in Pennsylvania with her wonderful
husband Mike and their Daughter Haley.
Source Of Information: NNCC & NHTSA