Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Updated Car Seat Guidelines

When used correctly, car seats can save lives. Choosing a car seat is only half the battle; knowing how to fasten your child into his or her seat is also vital. Make sure everyone in the family is aware of the new updates, including grandparents and caregivers.



The American Academy of Pediatrics have updated their recommendations:

1. Choose a seat that is appropriate for your child's size.

Children must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old and have exceeded the height and weight requirements of the seat. Keep in mind that when you move up car seats, for example a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat, you lose a bit of protection, so it's best to keep your child in the safest seat for as long as possible.

2. The car seat must be installed properly.

Infants should ride in the rear seat, at a 45 degree angle that avoids slumping and breathing problems. Never place a car seat in the front seat. Follow the manual's instructions for installation and if unsure, have the seat checked at your local fire station. Improperly installed car seats are common and lowers the effectiveness of the seat.

3. Your infant must be buckled in properly.

Another area where parents unknowingly go wrong is buckling their children into their seats. Make sure the straps are placed in the slots below the shoulders and the harness is snug. The retainer clip should be secured next to the child's armpit, never down by the belly.

Visit the AAP for more information.

Image: lafayettecountyhealth.org

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