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In Part 3 of this series about car seats on airplanes facts about use at your destination from rental cars to car seat alternatives to loss or damage

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10 car seat safety tips from an knowledgeable. Some of these might surprise probably the most seasoned guardian – Do you know that automobile accidents are a leading reason behind preventable loss of life for kids between the ages of 1 and 13? That is a truth.

However we can keep our youngsters safer by putting in and appropriately using automotive and booster seats. And earlier than you roll your eyes and say, “Yeah yeah. Been there, achieved that,” you have to hear what pediatrician Dr. Alisa Baer, often known as The Automotive Seat Woman, has to say:

“Studies present that even for folks who’re on their fourth child, automotive seat installation is without doubt one of the few things that individuals tend not to get better at.”  This will actually be a matter of life and dying, so buckle up — metaphorically, in fact — and take a few minutes to examine these ten extraordinarily essential suggestions from Baer.

1. Maintain the automotive seat straps snug.

“Most youngsters are driving around with straps which are too loose,” Baer says. Properly secured snug straps, regardless of protests from some youngsters, do not cause pain. “If you are going to leap out of an airplane with a parachute, you’re not going to think, ‘Oh, it is comfortable! Let me loosen it!'” she explains.

Think of the automotive seat straps the identical approach. In case you need steerage on how to ensure the straps are comfortable, take a look at this video. Also you’ll want to remove any cumbersome clothing. Issues like winter coats often make it essential to loosen straps — which in turn makes them far less effective.

2. Preserve kids rear-facing for so long as attainable.

Once your child outgrows an toddler automotive seat — which is at all times rear-facing — they will move into a convertible car seat. These can be utilized either in a rear- or forward-facing position. But “can” and “ought to” are two different things. Baer says it’s best to at all times preserve your child rear-facing until age 2 — and ideally longer, until they attain the rear-facing limits of the automotive seat. That should not occur till your kiddo is at the very least 2 years outdated, however even then, if they’re under the maximums for the automotive seat, do not flip them round!

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A typical misconception among mother and father is that there’s a larger danger for leg accidents within the event of a crash in rear-facing automotive seats because it appears as if a toddler’s legs are scrunched up. Baer assured me that kids are actually at a larger risk for leg injuries when they’re forward-facing because in an accident, their toes make contact with the seat in front of them, which is concurrently moving backward. The result is a compression harm, one thing that does not occur when the kid is rear-facing.

“The leg accidents we see when a baby is rear-facing are normally because of a direct impact from the intruding automobile. At that point, it would not matter which manner your baby is dealing with,” says Baer.

3. When your baby turns into too big to rear-face, keep them as safe as possible when forward-facing.

“The purpose now that we have turned your child ahead, which makes their brain and spine much less safe than once they have been rear-facing,” says Baer, “is to keep them as protected as we are able to.” You possibly can accomplish that by using the tether strap that comes on each single forward-facing car seat offered within the U.S. The tether secures to a high tether anchor point in your vehicle. This is the place you will need to break out that car proprietor’s guide to find the place they’re positioned. Since 2000, all vehicles sold within the U.S. are required to have anchors the place you possibly can safe the tethers in not less than three seating positions. Got a minivan or SUV? Most of these vehicles do NOT have tether anchors in all the rear seats. Find the tether anchors and always use them for forward-facing car seats.

“Ahead-facing protection is tremendously enhanced by the tether,” Baer explains. “It decreases how far the child’s head moves in a crash by a minimum of four to six inches. Whenever you consider that almost all seats are too free, that may imply a difference of 12 inches or extra.” Since you solely want your kid’s head to hit air in a crash and never the seat in entrance of them, the tethers on forward-facing automotive seats are vital.

LATCH will be complicated. It stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Kids. LATCH is comprised of each components on the car seat and parts within the vehicle, Baer explains. The federal government requires all autos mannequin 12 months 2003 and newer within the U.S. to have at least two seating positions with lower anchors and at the least three positions with tether anchors. The lower anchors are meant to change the usage of the vehicle’s seat belt. Most automobile seats (not booster seats, however precise automobile seats that have a five-point harness system) might be secured to the decrease anchors in vehicles by utilizing the LATCH belt on the child’s automotive seat.

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Baer emphasised that no matter how you put in the forward-facing automobile seat — whether with a seat belt or the decrease anchors — it is best to at all times use the tether. “In case you’re forward-facing seat is put in with the seat belt, use the tether along with the seat belt,” she mentioned. “If your forward-facing seat is put in with lower anchors, use the tether along with the lower anchors.”

So, yet one more time, because it’s that important: At all times use the tether on every forward-facing automotive seat!

4. Don’t start using a booster seat too soon — and do not cease using a booster seat too quickly.

For a kid to soundly use a booster seat, they have to be at least four years outdated, weigh 40 kilos, and be mature sufficient to sit down properly within the booster — “no slouching, no leaning over, and no enjoying with the seat belt.” Due to that, Baer says that almost all children are usually round 6 years outdated earlier than they’re prepared for a booster seat.

Relating to letting kids dump their booster seats, Baer notes that many parents are doing it too soon. “The purpose of a booster is to keep the belt property positioned on a child’s body, specifically so the lap belt stays in position on the child’s decrease hips throughout a crash.”

Baer says that there is a pattern of accidents resulting from children being in accidents while not in booster seats that, while not at all times deadly, are life altering — issues like lower spinal twine accidents resulting in paralysis and bladder and bowel accidents.

The way in which to prevent these? Preserve your kiddo in a booster until the seat belt matches exactly the same without the booster as it does with it. (Take a look at the five-step test for steering.) Most children are 10 to 12 years outdated earlier than they can trip safely with no booster.

5. Be certain that everybody within the automobile is buckled up.

In addition to preserving all your grownup passengers alive, making certain everybody within the vehicle is wearing a seat belt means they can’t change into human torpedoes within the occasion of an accident. “Studies present that if an adult rides in the again with no buckle, the other folks in the automotive are as much as three times extra prone to die in the identical crash because the unbuckled adult is now a human missile,” says Baer.

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That sounds relatively ugly — and that’s as a result of it is. If a car seat is covering a seat belt buckle, for instance, reinstall the automobile seat so that the buckle is on the market for the grownup. It is about everyone’s safety.

6. After you install your child’s automotive seat, have it checked by a trained technician.

While many individuals think they will swing by a fire or police division to accomplish this, “not even 50% of them have somebody educated” to do that, Baer says.

As a substitute, go to seatcheck.org, where you may enter your zip code to discover a educated technician close to you.

7. Remember that the middle seat is usually the safest spot within the car for teenagers.

Youngsters within the middle seat will not take a direct hit in an accident, and there’s less to hit their head on after they’re in a forward-facing car seat. In case you have a couple of youngster, keep in mind that your oldest is usually the least protected. “A new child, for instance, is more protected because they’re rear-facing,” Baer explains. The center seat usually would not have the lower anchors, which implies you may need to make use of the seat belt to secure the automobile seat (or in case your child is in a booster, they’ll be utilizing the belt anyway). And remember: In case your kiddo is in a forward-facing automotive seat, use the tether!

8. Do not textual content or speak on the telephone whereas driving.

“We’re not going to make a dent in fatalities until we lower distracted driving,” Baer notes. “We now have an obligation to make sure not solely our kids, however everyone else’s kids are safe on the road.”

9. Car seats expire!

It is not that the automotive seat industry is out to get your hard-earned money, Baer says, however rather that “car seats are product of plastic, and plastic is a material that will get brittle with age. You need a seat to be sturdy enough to withstand an crash.” Completely different automotive seats have completely different expiration dates, although they typically last six to eight years. Be certain you understand when yours needs replacing — notably should you’re utilizing it with more than one baby.

Speaking of which, you’ll want to put a variety of thought into borrowed or hand-me-down car seats. You should never buy a used automotive seat on-line. If you’re going to share with pals or use it for a couple of youngster, toddler seats which can be in good condition are better candidates for sharing than convertible automobile seats or boosters, that are used for longer and generally expertise extra put on and tear.

10. In case you’ve been in an accident, there is a good probability that your car seat wants replacing.

This holds true no matter whether your baby was within the car seat when the accident occurred because even an empty seat nonetheless absorbs a number of the force of the crash. Baer says most producers advise that the car seat requires alternative irrespective of the severity of the crash, but some seats have a “minor crash protocol.” You’ll be able to test her website to be taught extra.

The top three commonest errors Baer sees are car seats that are too loose within the automobile, kids that are too unfastened within the car seats, and kids who’re graduated too soon (from rear-facing to forward going through or automotive seat to booster, for instance). With some effort and care, we are able to all keep away from these errors and more. It is lots of information to absorb, but we’re talking about our children’ lives.

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