Dr. Barbara Huggins

Buckle Up - Car Seat Safety

November 30, 2006

Buckle Up - Car Seat Safety -  November 30, 2006Heading home for the holidays? You've probably made a list to make sure you've remembered everything. But before you start the car, there's one other thing that you must do to keep your family safe. Dr. Mom has the details on this important travel tip.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-14, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 0-1. The proper use of child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants (less than 1 year old) and by 54% for toddlers (1-4 years old) in passenger cars.

Parents and adults should set the example for children by properly using seatbelts themselves. Everyone riding in the automobile should be properly restrained.

Three types of safety seats are available:
A child is ready to use a standard safety belt when:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends replacing a car safety seat if the seat has been in a moderate or severe crash. If the crash was minor, the seat does not automatically need to be replaced. A crash is considered minor if all of the following are true:

If you are unsure, call the manufacturer of the seat. See the resource section for manufacturer names and phone numbers.

Avoid using used car safety seats, especially if obtained from a yard sale or secondhand (consignment) shop because there is no way to know the seat's history. Also never use a car safety seat that:

If the seat has been recalled, be sure to follow the instructions to fix it or to get the parts you need. You also may get a registration card for future recall notices from the hotline.

All safety seats and vehicles are different, so read and follow your vehicle owner's manual and the safety seat's instructions to make sure your child's seat is properly installed. Your local police department may assist you in insuring your child's safety seat is properly installed.

Special thanks to Officer James McCraw from the Tyler, Texas Police Department for his assistance with this segment.

Additional resources:

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.