#GIVEAWAY: National Child Passenger Safety Week – Tips for Keeping your Child Safe

stackingtoyCar crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 1 through 12 years old.  Based on NHTSA crash data in 2010, almost an average of 2 children (age 12 and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and 325 were injured each day.  With statistics like these, it’s amazing that this fatality rate could be reduced by about half if the correct child safety seat were always used.

This week, September 15th – 21st, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, marks Child Passenger Safety Week, making it the best time to make sure you’re properly securing your children (ages 0-12) in the best car restraint (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, seat belt) for their age and size.

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Car Seat Safety Tips From Julie Vallese, Safety 1st Consumer Safety Expert.

Importance of Rear Facing
In March of 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their car seat recommendations advising that children should remain rear facing until the age of two, or until they reach the maximum height and weight requirements allowed by their car seat. According to a study in the Journal of Injury Prevention children under the age of two are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in the event of a car crash if they are rear facing. When a child is rear facing their head, neck and spine are better supported and in the event of an accident, crash forces are distributed over the child’s entire body.

Installation
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly.  Every car and car seat has different requirements for the safest installation so before you get started it is important to read both the car seat and car manual.

Typically the center rear seat is the safest place for a car seat, and never install a car seat in the front seat.  If your car does not have a latch connector for the middle seat, you can use the middle seat belt to properly secure the base.  When installing, make sure the base of the car seat moves no more than an inch from side to side. An easy way to test this is to hold at the belt path.

New parents and grandparents are encouraged to attend a car seat check before the baby is born.  However, don’t just rely on the experts. You’re likely going to be taking the car seat out and installing it somewhere else at some point, so make sure you’re comfortable with the process too.

Car Seat Expiration
Never use used or old car seats.  Car seats do have an expiration date and it is to understand the risks associated with using an expired or old car seat.  The reason for an expiration date is because plastic can warp and materials can fray, which can make car seats less safe to use.  Car seat technology and state and federal car seat regulations change.  A car seat deemed safe more than six years ago may no longer meet federal testing regulations.  Important warning labels may wear out and instruction books may get lost, which can lead to improper use of the car seat.

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Most recently, for my family, we were contemplating moving my 3 and a half year old out of his convertible car seat and into a booster.  Most parents know that it’s safer for older children to ride in boosters—in fact 4-5 year olds using booster seats have a 67% reduction in fatality risk vs. other 4-5 year olds riding unrestrained.  Yet adding to the decision, booster seat laws vary by state and can be pretty confusing.   For example, in some states all children under 8 years old must be restrained in a booster, and other states only require children to 4 years old to use one.  We definitely were happy to get this education.  The little Mister is now sitting in a harness booster and it reinforced to us that my 6 year old still needs to be in a booster regardless of how mature she seems.

That’s why I am proud to be a Safety 1st Ambassador.  Safety 1st just launched their all new BoostAPak which is designed to help keep kids in boosters longer, as it’s often hard to get an older child to stay in his or her booster seat. However, for children 4 to 7 years old, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts alone. (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).  Additionally, the AAP recommends children ride in boosters until the age of 12 or 57 inches; but only 13% of children 54-56 inches tall ride on one (NHTSA)  The Safety 1st BoostAPak is an amazing 2 in 1 booster seat which doubles as a stylish backpack.  I love the hidden storage space making it perfect for roadtrips and/or traveling between cars for safe playdates.

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Child Passenger Safety Week” there is an amazing FREE opportunity for parents to check if they’re properly securing their children in the appropriate car restraint for their age and size on September 21st, Safety Check Saturday.  To find the nearest car seat check in your area, please visit: http://icsw.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/

{ disclosure:  As a proud Safety 1st Ambassador, I received compensation to share this very important educational message from a company that puts our children’s Safety 1st! }

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boostapakGIVEAWAY

(1) lucky Mom Confessionals’ reader is going to win the new Safety 1st BoostAPak Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat!  You must answer, “What is your must have item for Back to School?”  You have several additional entry options if you’d like to increase your odds of winning!  ALL ENTRIES ARE CONTAINED WITHIN THE WIDGET.  Good Luck!