Wednesday, June 9, 2010


TIPS FOR BUCKLING UP CHILDREN by Julie Prom, a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician instructor representing the National Highway Safety Association's (NIHTSA) safety regulations.

This summer, you will probably be taking to the road whether for quick weekend getaways or extended family vacations. What to pack? Baby's car seat! It's the most important item to bring to ensure your baby gets there safely.

As an injury prevention specialist for over 24 years, as well as a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor, Julie is passionate about teaching people how to keep children safe when riding in a car. As the mother of four and grandmother of three, her absolute top priority is the safety and welfare of all children. "We can't prevent all of the little bumps and bruises of childhood, but there are steps we can take to reduce the risk of injury to our children. The biggest risk our children face is motor vehicle crashes. Properly securing all children in appropriate car safety seats, booster seats, or safety belts every time is the best defense."

According to research from the National Highway Safety Administration, 3-out-of-4 car safety seats are installed incorrectly.

Here are the four stages of protection for your child in a car. (Every time you move to the next stage, less protection is provided. So, don't be in a hurry to move them! )

1. Rear-facing is safest. Try to keep your child rear-facing until child is at least 24 months old, longer if the car safety seat weight and height limit allows. The American Academy of Pediatrics released new research showing that toddlers are more than five times safer riding rear-facing in a car safety seat up to their second birthday. You may want to start with an infant-only seat for convenience. You will need a convertible seat (one that faces the rear and forward) when your baby outgrows the infant seat.

2. Forward-facing with a harness. Keep your child in a harness until at least 4 or 5 years old. Most kids younger than 5 are not mature enough to sit still without a full harness.

3. Booster seat. Use after your child has outgrown the harness weight limit of her forwarding-facing seat and is mature enough to sit still. A booster will only do its job if your child is seated in it correctly with the vehicle's safety belts positioned properly on him. A wiggly child could be out of position when a crash occurs and not be protected. You may need to buy a car safety seat with a harness that goes to a higher weight if your child is still too wiggly for his booster.

4. Adult safety belt. Use adults safety belt when your child is big enough, usually not until he reaches 4' 9" and mature enough to wear it properly.

Find a car seat installation specialist in your area an