Make sure chil­dren’s car seats are prop­erly used

Here are some tips to keep your lit­tle ones safe while trav­el­ling dur­ing the f es­tive sea­son

Weekend Witness - - G Ames -

WHILE t rav­el­ling this hol­ida y, a void pos­ing any un­nec­es­sary ad­di­tional risk to your chil­dren by en­sur­ing that child re­straints are in­stalled cor­rectly, or you may pot en­tially c om­pro­mise it s per­for­mance in a cr ash.

And while most of us recog­nise that child r es­traints ar e ther e t o pr ovide pro­tec­tion in a crash and in­crease safety, do w e all kno w ho w t o use them prop­erly?

To help get you on the right tr ack, here ar e tips f or ins talling a child r es­traint or chil­dren’s car seat. Re­mem­ber, if in any doubt, ask for help from a pro­fes­sional in­staller. Your chil­dren’s lives c ould de­pend on it. • Al­ways read the man­ual. Per­haps you don’t read the man­ual when it comes to the ne w blender or t ele­vi­sion, but this is one you can­not skip. Even if you have ins talled one bef ore, r eview the man­ual again to en­sure the seat is cor­rectly fit­ted. It is ad­vis­able to read the ve­hi­cle o wner’s man­ual, w hich will con­tain inf or­ma­tion on ho w t o fit a child re­straint, as well as the one sup­plied b y the seat manuf ac­turer. • Be cau­tious with borr owed or sec ­ ond­hand car seat s. If y ou ha ve bor­rowed it from some­one, check the seat care­fully and look out f or things such as wear and tear, whether the har­ness is work­ing cor­rectly and whether it has a prop­erly work­ing buckle. In ad­di­tion to look­ing out for bent or bro­ken pins and fit tings, check f or disc oloured plas­tic that in­di­cat es ex­ces­sive e xpo­sure t o the sun. • Car seats have an ex­piry date: check the date of man­u­fac­ture if con­sid­er­ing a sec­ond­hand seat and never use one that is more than seven years old. Child re­straints that have been in an aci­dent should be r eplaced. • Make sure the s traps are snugly fit­ted. The straps should be tight enough so you can only fit one fin­ger be­tween the child and the s traps.

Even if your child throws a tantrum, don’t give in and loosen the s traps as the re­sult could be deadly in a col­li­sion. All s traps should lie flat ag ainst the child’s body and the chest clip should be po­si­tioned at the child’s armpit level. • Lastly, it is also im­por­tant to se­cure loose ob­jects in your car. Make sure all ob­jects are s towed away safely. Items like um­brel­las, wa­ter bot­tles and bags could be very hazardous in an ac­ci­dent as a har d im­pact can turn them int o mis­siles that can harm you or your chil­dren.

Car ac­ci­dents are the lead­ing cause of unint en­tional in­jury ­re­lated death among childr en ag ed 1 4 and un­der .

Ar­rive Alive says a re­view of var­i­ous United States stud­ies shows that cor­rectly ins talled child saf ety seat s f or chil­dren aged 0–4 years can re­duce the need for hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion by 69%, the risk of death f or in­fants is re­duced by 70%, and by up t o 54% for chil­dren aged 1–4 y ears.

When ins talled and used c or­rectly, child r es­traints pr event in­jurie s and save li ves. W hen it is y our childr en’s lives on the line, make the in­vest­ment in qualit y seat s and t ake the time t o in­stall them right.

— Sup­plied by Rory Judd of MiWay.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

En­sure saf e and pe ace­ful tr avels this hol­ida y s ea­son b y c or­rectly ins talling y our chil d’s c ar s eat.

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