Right seat helps keep child safe while in car

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: What do you think of a grand­mother who has her 7year-old grand­son sit in a baby car seat when she’s driv­ing? The boy weighs 65 pounds and is 41/ feet tall. His par­ents don’t want to cause a rift with her, as she helps them af­ter school. He looks ridicu­lous and must feel em­bar­rassed in front of his friends. Should rel­a­tives in­ter­vene? — GRANNY’S NEIGH­BOR

DEAR NEIGH­BOR: I took your ques­tion to a public af­fairs spe­cial­ist with the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion. He said that chil­dren through the age of 12 should al­ways ride in the back seat. He also re­minded me that seat belts were de­signed for adults, not chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to the NHTSA, the 7-year-old should be in a booster seat. A booster seat po­si­tions the seat belt so it fits prop­erly over the shoul­der and chest — the strong­est parts of the child’s body — so it won’t cut him or her on the neck or face in case of an ac­ci­dent.

The NHTSA used to rec­om­mend that chil­dren 8 to 12 years old or 4 feet 9 inches and shorter use a booster seat. How­ever, it now rec­om­mends that par­ents visit its web­site, www.nhtsa.gov, to choose a cor­rect seat. Click on the child safety sec­tion, and you’ll find an area head­lined “Which car seat is the right one for your child?” There also are videos in this sec­tion show­ing par­ents how to in­stall the seats cor­rectly.

The rec­om­men­da­tions are na­tional and do not vary among the states. And yes — this in­for­ma­tion should be shared with the child’s par­ents and the grand­mother to en­sure the boy’s safety.

DEAR ABBY: At the age of 2, I was di­ag­nosed with Type 1 di­a­betes. I have been in­volved with the Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion since I was 6. As its 2012 na­tional youth ad­vo­cate, I’d like to in­vite your readers to join me by par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 24th an­nual Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion Alert Day on Tues­day.

Alert Day, held on the fourth Tues­day in March, is a one-day “wake-up call.” On that day, Amer­i­cans are in­vited to take the Di­a­betes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for de­vel­op­ing Type 2 di­a­betes. It’s a se­ri­ous dis­ease that strikes nearly 26 mil­lion chil­dren and adults in the United States. Many of them don’t know they have it.

Un­for­tu­nately, peo­ple of­ten are di­ag­nosed with Type 2 di­a­betes seven to 10 years af­ter it has set­tled in their sys­tem. By then, the ma­jor symp­toms al­ready have de­vel­oped and harmed the body, so early di­ag­no­sis is crit­i­cal.

Please urge your readers to “Take it. Share it.” Let them know they can pro­tect their health and stop this dis­ease by tak­ing the free risk test. Just an­swer a few sim­ple ques­tions and let ev­ery­one you care about know there is a test. If they take it, they could be sav­ing lives. — LO­GAN NI­COLE GRE­GORY

DEAR LO­GAN: Con­grat­u­la­tions on your se­lec­tion as the 2012 na­tional youth ad­vo­cate. Readers, be­cause di­a­betes is a se­ri­ous — but man­age­able — con­di­tion and there are sim­ple ways to find out if you could be at risk, please pay at­ten­tion to Lo­gan’s mes­sage. Visit the Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion’s Face­book page, go to stop­di­a­betes.com or call 800/342-2383.

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