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New safety seat advice makes sure kids are safe
CHICAGO (3/28/11)--The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently established new child safety seat advice for parents ( March 21). Both organizations recommend that children riding in cars should remain in rear-facing child safety seats until their second birthday, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the car seat. The new guideline is based on research indicating that children younger than two years of age in rear-facing safety seats are 75% less likely to die or receive serious injury in a crash ( March 21). This updates previous advice from pediatricians that children should be placed in front-facing car seats after their first birthday ( March 20). The medical group and federal agency also suggest parents use booster seats for older children who’ve outgrown child safety seats until they reach a height--typically 4 feet 9 inches--where a vehicle’s standard shoulder-lap belts fit the child properly ( March 21). Consider these recommendations--in addition to reviewing the new guidelines--to ensure that child passengers are safe while riding in your vehicle:
* Purchase new. Buying new ensures the car seat or booster seat is damage-free. It is often hard to tell if a secondhand seat has been damaged from misuse or a previous accident. Unseen damage could compromise safety. *Check recalls. Be certain the seat model you own or plan to buy hasn’t been recalled. Check with the National Highway Safety Administration on the Web for a list of booster seat and child safety seat recalls. Contact the manufacturer immediately if you find out that the model you purchased has been recalled. *Consider options. Buying a safety seat that converts into a carrier or booster seat may help you avoid the future expense of multiple safety devices. Remember to check the device’s instructions or contact the manufacturer to make sure the device is approved for double duty. *Proper installation. A child safety seat is only fully effective when correctly installed. Have your seat professionally installed or visit a police or fire station to have your child safety seat checked for proper installation. Some Red Cross chapters perform this safety check as well.
For more vehicle safety news, read “Auto Safety: How Does Your Car Do in New, Tougher Crash Tests?” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.
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