Keeping Children Safe in Collisions

Ask any parent, the first time hitting the road with your newborn is a nerve wracking experience, to say the least. You might find yourself double checking the car seat straps, triple checking on-coming traffic, or simply driving 25 mph all the way home. Believe it or not, the first federal child restraint mandate was not passed until 1985. Today, It is estimated that over 95% of children under the age of 1 are strapped into a car seat before being driven around. Despite the commonality of car seat usage, roughly 4 children under the age of 14 are killed in vehicle collisions everyday ( Perlstein 2018).

So, why are we still seeing so many child traffic deaths even with these safety measures are in place? Experts have found that many of these deaths are contributed to the misuse of child restraints. At ProCare, we are not only focused on a safety-first approach to the auto body repair of your vehicle after a collision, but also with the safety of your family during an accident. In order to help keep your family safe, this week we are going to share a few tips to ensure the proper selection and usage of a child restraint system.

There are 3 things to consider when selecting a car seat for your child.

  1. How old is my child?
  2. How much does my child weigh?
  3. How tall is my child?

father securing his infant into a rear facing car seat

Infants

It’s finally time to bring your beautiful, little angel home from the hospital. The last thing you want to be worried about is whether or not you have the proper car seat in place to get her there safely.

The 2 most common car seats used for children under the age of 1 are rear-facing infant car seats and convertible seats. These restraints position the child facing towards the rear of the vehicle. They offer support to the head, neck, and body in the event of a collision or sudden stop.

A rear-facing infant car seat will accommodate children up to 20 pounds and 19-26 inches tall. Your child needs to be rear facing until the age of 2, and may need to switch to a convertible seat which will accommodate children up to 40 pounds. Some infant car seats will come in 2 parts: a base, which stays anchored into the car, and the seat, which will snap in-and-out for convenience.

Never place a rear-facing infant car seat in the front passenger seat of a car equipped with side airbags. This places the child at serious risk for harm or death in the event of a collision in which the airbags are deployed. Infant’s should always ride rear-facing until they reach the weight recommended by the car seat’s manufacturer.

toddler secured in child safety seat

Toddlers

Your little one is now 2 years old, and it’s time to put her into a forward-facing car seat. You can achieve this with the same convertible car seat that you used after she reached 20 pounds, or you can grab a regular forward-facing car seat. Both of these seats will accommodate toddlers between 20-40 pounds, 26-50 inches tall, and up to 4 years old.

School-aged

You and your not-so-little one are gearing up for Kindergarten! A platform booster seat is designed to lift your child up to make the standard lap and shoulder belt fit correctly. Use this restraint when the seats of your vehicle are higher than your child’s ears. This restraint will accommodate children 40-80 pounds, 35-48 inches tall, and 4-8 years old. In the event that the seats in your vehicle are shorter than your child’s ears, use a high-back booster seat. The high-back seat functions the same way as a platform booster while adding additional support for your child’s head and neck in the event of an accident.

mother securing her children in their seat belts

At the age of 8, if your child is over 80 pounds, she is ready to use the standard lap and shoulder belt. The lap belt should fit low across the child’s upper thighs and the shoulder belt snug across the center of the shoulder.

Key Tips:

The safest place in the vehicle to place a car seat is in the middle of the back seat. This placement helps to cut down injuries from side impact.

For multiple children, try to keep the youngest child in the middle and the older ones on the sides.

ALWAYS refer to the car seat manual when installing the seat. Double check installation to ensure a snug fit.

When purchasing or borrowing a used car seat, always check the expiration date and ask if the seat has been in a collision before. If the car seat has been in an accident, do not use it. Though the seat may not have any cosmetic damage, its integrity may be compromised in areas that you cannot see, putting your child at risk.

To have experts look over and ensure that your car seat is properly installed, click here!

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ProCare Collision Center, Auto Body Repair & Painting, Omaha, NE

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ProCare Collision Center

Auto Body Repair & Service in Omaha, Nebraska Serving Omaha, Ralston, La Vista, Papillion, Elkhorn, Fremont, Council Bluffs, Chalco, Bellevue, Carter Lake and surrounding areas.