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Get Ready for Summer Travel with Car Seat Safety Tips from Blythedale Children’s Hospital
Summer travel season is upon us. Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Westchester share the following car seat safety tips to keep your smallest passengers safe before you hit the highway this summer on your own family adventure.
Summer travel season is upon us and it’s important to make sure your little ones are safe on the road. Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Westchester share the following car seat safety tips to keep your smallest passengers safe before you hit the highway this summer on your own family adventure.
• Never leave a child alone in a vehicle - not even for a minute.
• Add-on toys can injure your child in a crash.
• Car seat fabrics meet strict fire safety codes. Do not use any products that did not come from the manufacturer in or with the car seat.
• Have your car seat checked by a currently certified child passenger safety technician to make sure it is properly installed.
• For the best possible protection, keep your baby in a rear-facing child safety seat in a back seat for as long as possible - up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. The "12 months and 20 pounds" rule that many parents cite when turning their child forward-facing in the car is actually the minimum size and age requirement for that change. New recommendations suggest that children remain rear-facing to age 2.
• Keep a baby rear-facing in a convertible seat until he or she reaches the maximum height or weight allowed by the manufacturer. For many children that will be 30, 35 or even 40 pounds. Many kids will be over age 2 when they reach that weight. Rear-facing occupants are safest.
• Read the car seat instructions. Use your baby’s car seat rear-facing and semi-reclined to no more than 45 degrees, so the baby’s head stays in contact with the seat and the baby’s airway stays open.
• Find the frontal airbags in your vehicle by checking the owner’s manual. Never put a rear-facing car seat in front of an active frontal airbag. Children are always safest in a back seat.
• Make sure the buckled harness straps that keep your baby properly positioned and secured in the car seat fit snugly. Loose harness straps don’t provide maximum protection. Be sure the harness is tight enough that you cannot pinch webbing at the shoulder.
• Position the shoulder straps through the slots at or below your baby’s shoulders and adjust the chest clip to armpit level.
• Use either the car’s seat belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both systems at the same time.
• Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt or LATCH path to test it.
• Every car seat has an expiration date - generally, it is six years from manufacture. Many have the expiration date stamped on the seat. Contact the manufacturer of your specific seat to find out what its expiration date is.
• Never buy a used car seat if you do not know its full history. Never use a car seat that has been in a crash and avoid seats sold at flea markets, yard sales or online.
Blythedale Children’s Hospital is the Westchester County coalition leader for the National Safe Kids Campaign. For more information about Blythedale’s injury prevention and safety programs, please call Lena Cavanna, Director of Community Relations at 914-831-2410. For additional information about keeping your child safe this summer, visit the Safe Kids USA website at http://www.safekids.org.
About Blythedale Children’s Hospital
As New York’s only freestanding, specialty children’s hospital, Blythedale Children’s Hospital is dedicated to improving the health status and quality of life of children with complex medical illnesses and disabling conditions through superb multi-disciplinary patient care, teaching, research, and advocacy programs. Blythedale’