Things sure have changed since your children were born. The most significant is car travel. Gone are the days when you just pile everyone into the car without a seat belt, and for good reason. There are many more cars on the road, along with many distracted drivers.
Over 30,000 people die on U.S. roadways every year. For many years over 2,000 children were dying and over 300,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Those horrible statistics have greatly declined thanks to the use of child car seats. However, car crashes are still the number one cause of injury and death to children ages newborn to fourteen.
As a new or experienced grandparent, it’s important to know there are laws requiring a child to be buckled up properly in the correct car seat. There are many stages for all different ages, height and weight. Many car seats offer a variety of features. The best is the one that fits the child, fits your vehicle and the one you’ll use properly every time.
If the parents of your grandbaby insist on a certain car seat, go to the store and try before you buy to be sure it will fit in your vehicle properly. Local help is usually available. Ask for a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. This person may be a fire fighter, police officer, public health worker or just a parent on a mission. Either way, they are willing to assist you in helping you learn all about the car seat, how it works and how to place the grandbaby in the harness correctly. You can find them here: http://cert.safekids.org.
No one can ever predict when a car crash will occur, so it’s important to use the car seat correctly every ride, even if you’re just going around the corner. Don’t be intimidated by the car seat. It’s not that difficult to use. There are videos on most manufacturer’s websites or the company has trained customer service staff to assist you over the phone. Never hesitate to call a manufacturer. They want you to be able to use the car seat correctly and their customer service representatives are more than experienced to help you.
1. A car seat can be installed with either a seat belt or lower anchor straps that come with the seatThe car seat should be installed tight, making sure the seat belts are in locking mode.
2. See your vehicle manual for instructions.
3. For rear-facing babies, the harness straps should come out from behind and over the child’s shoulders. They should fit snug and comfortable and you should not be able to pinch the webbing at the collar bone.
4. For forward-facing children, the harness straps should come out from just at or above the child’s shoulders. Again, a snug and comfortable fit is acceptable. A harness that is too loose can cause injury to a child.
Empowering yourself with the right knowledge on car seat safety will not only protect your precious cargo, but will also help you “score brownie points” with their parents. And, you just might teach them a thing or two helping them protect their children. Anyone would appreciate that super grandparent power!
by Allana Pinkerton
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