Learn­ing About Car Seats Saves Lives

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY - Paige Behm MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION IS AVAIL­ABLE ON THE HEALTH DEPART­MENT BY CALL­ING 417223-7122 OR BY VIS­IT­ING WWW. MCDON­ALD COUNTY HEALTH. COM.

PINEVILLE — Traf­fic in­juries are the lead­ing cause of pre­ventable injury and death for chil­dren in the U.S., but seat belts save lives. Buck­ling a child in the right car seat that is the right size and is in­stalled cor­rectly can help re­duce her risk of death by as much as 71 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to Safe Kids World­wide.

“As a child, I re­mem­ber sit­ting in my mom’s lap in the car, nap­ping in the back win­dow and lay­ing in the floor­board dur­ing long drives,” said ad­min­is­tra­tor Paige Behm. “To­day, we would never dream of let­ting our kids do that. We know they need to be safely buck­led into car seats.”

There are so many dif­fer­ent brands of car seats, par­ents may feel con­fused or over­whelmed. The good news is that all car seats have to meet the same fed­eral safety stan­dards.

There are three main types of car seats, rear­fac­ing, front-fac­ing and booster seats.

Rear-fac­ing seats are the first seat your in­fant will use, and should last un­til he is about 40 pounds, or 2 years old.

Front-fac­ing seats work best for chil­dren that are at least 2 years old and have grown larger than the height or weight limit on their rear-fac­ing seat.

Booster seats are for kids who have out­grown the front-fac­ing seat, but are not yet 8 years old or 80 pounds. The seat raises the child up so the adult lap and shoul­der seat belt fits cor­rectly.

Be­fore buy­ing a car seat, par­ents should look at the la­bel for the weight, height and age lim­its and should choose a seat that best matches the child.

“It may be tempt­ing to try to save money by buy­ing a used car seat,” says Behm, “but never buy a used car seat un­less you know its full his­tory. If a car seat has been in a traf­fic crash, has miss­ing parts, or has been re­called, it will not be safe for your child.”

Behm adds that a good car seat only works to pro­tect a child if it is in­stalled cor­rectly and if the child is buck­led in the right way ev­ery time. Safe Kids World­wide of­fers tips on how to safely buckle a child into a car seat at www.safekids. org/car-seat.

The Health Depart­ment has a cer­ti­fied car seat tech­ni­cian on site to help par­ents and grand­par­ents learn how to safely in­stall a car seat. The Health Depart­ment also of­fers free car seats to el­i­gi­ble fam­i­lies.

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