I could still remember and still very fresh in my mind the good idea created by one organization in giving away tens and thousands of car seats at no extra cost so everyone have the chance to have one for safety reason. That move was very commendable and very laudable, in fact, they should be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for such a great act. In this industrialized age world were motorized vehicles are increasing in staggering numbers, and no holding up, it is just wise to put our kids on car seats when we are traveling with them in the car.
And I am a very big advocate of safety first than comfort, so kids below 8 years old must be on car seats all the time when moving unless the child exceeds the height/weight limits set by the manufacturer. At the same time, no child below 13 years old should be sitting in the front seat at all times until they reach the height/weight limits too or when the regular seat belts are fitting properly already on your child.
Those are not my own guidelines but the basics of car seat safety set by safety authorities and regulators. According to experts, generally, kids should be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and between the ages of 8 and 12 years before they can graduate from booster seats then be allowed to use adult seat belts. And most importantly, no child should ever be sitting free and unharnessed while riding in a car or even sitting on someone’s lap. So if you value the life of your child or if you still want to see them grow older then you should not exchange comfort from safety.
I brought up this topic once again because just a few days ago while driving in the city streets, I saw a child (pictured above) sitting on the lap of her/his mother in the front seat. Probably this child is just a year old or less yet the parents allowed it to be in the front. So it’s a big blow to the noble project of the organization that I mentioned above. They have tried their best to come up with solutions to promote safety by giving away car seats for free and it seems that it is still a long way in solving this increasing problem. And we will continue to see horrific fatalities from car accidents this kind of attitude and if we don’t start practicing car seat safety.
I remembered several months back that a certain hospital in cooperation with one company is actively giving out child car seats to newly parents for free. I was thinking that they are doing it so to encourage parents to use car seats for their children. They have positioned it strategically that when a newborn or every newborn is discharged from the hospital, they are assured to receive a brand new car seat. I would say that it was a very good initiative for child safety in a moving vehicle as there are so many incidents and death that involve children from motor vehicle accidents.
I believe that the said agenda was great and is very laudable especially to those who come out with the idea. Yet there are also other things that every parent should know and must understand that using a car seat appropriately is one and having a child seat that fits the car is another thing. So make sure that you get or buy the right child seat that it is compatible with your car. And it’s for that reason that authorities are pushing the child-seat makers to make some changes on the child seat requirements and re-design them so it can be used safely for children 65 pounds and above.
Parents should make sure that the child car seats are tightly and properly secured on the seat of your vehicle. No matter what kind of child-seat securing system you use, whether the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system or the car seat belts, they are both equally safe to use. The only thing that you must remember is that if the child weighs 65 pounds or more then you should know that the safety of heavier kids could not be guaranteed with the use of LATCH anchors. Considering that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of child car seats with 5-point system harness up to the age of 8.
So expect to see some changes in child seat requirements and recommendations by 2014. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could be rolling out new guidelines next year to make sure those child-seat manufacturers are making child seat more compatible with cars and that the securing system can support children that weighs 65 pounds or more.
The modern day technology should have prevented so many accidents that involve kids and children. But the statistics is still growing when it comes to child car seat incidents. Although if we take a look at closer, it has nothing to do with the safety features of the car seat but more so on parents neglecting to use it and the inappropriate use of car seats according to height and weight of the child or both.
And if I’m going to ask you if you are using the appropriate car seat for your kids, for sure many are still unaware of the right specifications that were set by the authorities and car seat manufacturers. Much worse to it is that there are still parents who don’t use car seats at all and if they have one, it’s only used for display purposes. As a general rule, no child riding in a car should be sitting freely and unharnessed or left sitting in the front seat.
So here are some reminders for parents out there and for those who still don’t know about child car seat safety restraint system.
- Infants and toddlers before the age of 2 years should be using a rear-facing car seat or they have exceeded the weight/height specifications of your car seat.
- Do not place a rear-facing car seat in the front or totally no car seat be placed in the front seat.
- Kids below the age of two who does not reach the weight limit yet but exceed the height specification should remain in rear-facing car seat. The child’s comfort should not outgrow the child’s safety.
- Child car seat is specifically designed to securely hold the child safely inside the car, so no child should ever be sitting on someone’s lap.
- During winter, avoid dressing kids with thick clothing before you safely secure them into the harness.
That’s it for now but check back soon for other car seat safety guidelines in children two years and older.
My wife and I were planning of replacing our child car seat since our lil boy is growing taller than expected. We are window shopping for possible replacement a month ago and I was able to find what we are looking and bearing in mind the considerations of his fast growth in the months to come. He was still 1 year and 1 month at that time when we check the stores but I decided to postpone it a little bit and see the trend of his growth spurt.
His present car seat which is rear-facing is already way too short for him for he has difficulty in extending his legs, in fact he can no longer extend it and he probably needs one that is forward- facing. Every time we go out, he needs to flex his knees in order for him fit in his car seat. I know it cause inconvenience to him already but I believe that it is better that way than buying a replacement now then change it again in just a few months. I told my wife that we’ll just wait for him to turn (perhaps) 2 years old before we switch to forward-facing car seat or when it is too inconvenient for him already. It could be much earlier or nearer that.
We always want to keep our children safe when riding in the car but sometimes we aren’t aware of the right safety guidelines. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using rear-facing car seats until the age of two (2) for safety reasons. Experts also believe that rear-facing car seat is five times safer than riding in a forward-facing car seat for toddlers. It can protect children from serious injuries in the event of frontal collision.
Dr. Michelle Macy, a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan medical School, said that “when a child is sitting in a rear-facing car seat, the stopping forces are spread out over their entire back and the back of the car is a cushion for them. However, in the forward-facing position, all of the crash forces are focused on the points of the body that come into contact with the car seat straps and the child’s head and limbs keep moving forward, pulling against the seat.”
I’m sure you still remember Newton’s law of motion.
But the troubling fact according to researchers is that 73% of parents aged 7 months to 48 months swapped their rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing before the age of 2. And for maximum safety feature, the 5-point harness is always the recommended safety strap.
NB: Image from wikimedia commons.