Several counties across the state are working to educate parents when it comes to installing a child car seat. Organizations are coming together to check car seats in parent’s cars. They are also answering questions on how to install car seats. Officials with Healthy Start want to change that by informing parents about car seat safety. They are urging parents to pay close attention to their child’s car seat. Taylor is the Special Programs coordinator at Healthy Start. He told Channel 7 WJHG, that parents should look for a seat that is structurally sound and installed properly so that it keeps the child in the seat in the event of a crash. Other helpful information that Taylor told Channel 7 was that many parents don’t know important details about car seats like knowing that the seats have an expiration date. “Plastic is of course susceptible to the sun and it does break down,” explained Taylor. “Another thing a lot of people don’t understand is if the car seat’s ever been in an accident its supposed to be replaced.”
Healthy Start employees also want parents to know that there are two ways to secure a car seat. One way to secure the seat is to use the seat belt method; the other is by using the latch method. It’s important for parents to use one or the other – not both.
For older children, keep them in the back seat. According to an AAA survey, 73 percent of parents in Florida first allowed their children to sit in the front seat of a moving vehicle at age 12 or younger.
By Florida law, kids have to be in a car seat until their fourth birthday, and they have to be in a car seat or booster seat until their sixth birthday. Once they’re 6, it is still recommended that they sit in the back seat where it is safer. If they’re not 4-foot-9-inches tall, weighing 80 to 100 pounds, their seat belt may not fit them properly and it is recommended that they sit in a booster seat.
As for infants and toddlers, AAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that they ride in a rear-facing seat until they are 2 years old or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
All of this is helpful information especially knowing that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for all children. According to AAA, child restraints, or car seats, reduce the risk of injury by 71% to 82% and reduce the risk of death by 28% in comparison to children in seat belts alone. Booster seats reduce the risk of nonfatal injuries by 45% among 4 to 8 year olds when compared to the seat belt alone.
All vehicle occupants need to be properly restrained by seat belts or child safety seats to prevent injury in case of a sudden stop, swerve or crash. Seat belts and car seats contact the strongest parts of the body, spread crash forces over a wide area, help slow down the body and protect the brain and spinal cord.
Visit AAA car seat guide to find the right car seat for your child: http://safeseats4kids.aaa.com/car-seat-guide/