Car Seat Safety

Did you know that in Georgia, car accidents are the leading cause of death and injury to children ranging 1 year to 12 years?

The statistics as of 2009 was 1,314 children were killed and 179,000 were injured. That is Way Too Many Children harmed!

The reason why many of these children died or were injured: 4 out of every 10 under 6 who died or were injured weren’t restrained properly in their car seat.

Diva, at 18 months, still rear faces, the safest way for her to ride. She has a mirror that I can see her little face in if I glance at my rear-view mirror. She plays games and we talk and sing because she can still hear me. She sits up enough to see out of her window now. And she places her legs everywhere. We also bought a big car seat made to rear-face until she is at least two, probably more like three or four.

Now, I know, the argument is always, well my child is tall, he/she won’t have anywhere to put his/her feet.

This isn’t true!

What is true is that it is easier for you, the parent, to have the child forward facing because it makes it easier to talk to them, see them, etc. But you are putting them in great danger.

A child’s feet can go out in front of them. On the seat. Folded a little in front of them. Over the seat sides. This has all been proven to be just fine!

As for the limited legroom, pediatricians say children are far more flexible than adults, which allows them to sit comfortable with their legs folded for long periods. Moreover, studies show that leg injuries are relatively rare in rear-facing children and are more common in forward-facing children. Most important, doctors say, leg injuries are far less serious than the head, neck, spine injuries that they see in forward-facing children.

Many states are actually making it law to have toddlers rear facing until around the age of 3 or 4 because this actually prevents injury and death. Georgia hasn’t jumped on this bandwagon just yet, but it should. And you should know that just because the law says it’s okay to forward face a child 1 year or older and over 20 pounds, doesn’t mean you should do it. Quit being selfish and taking the easy road. Think about the safety of your child first.

Children are 75% less likely to die in a wreck if they are rear facing, according to a 2007 study in Injury Prevention journal.

A rear-facing child safety seat dos a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body

Dennis Durbin, M.D., F.A.A.P., a pediatric emergency physician and co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

 

According to Georgia law and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety:

  • ALL children under the age of 8 whose height is less than 57 inches must ride in the backseat of a car.  A child is safer in the back and farthest away from the force of an airbag.  Remember that airbags are designed to save adults, and since they deploy with great force they can be fatal to children.
  • Children under the age of 8 are required to be in either a car seat or a booster seat suitable for their age and height.
  • If there is not a back seat in the vehicle (e.g., a truck) or if other restrained children are in the back seat, Georgia law permits a child under the age of 8 to sit in front if restrained in the proper car seat or booster and the child weighs at least 40 pounds.
  • Georgia’s Primary Safety Belt Law allows law enforcement officers to issue a citation if they OBSERVE a seat belt offense.  They do not need to stop the driver for another traffic violation first, as in some other states.
  • Violating these laws can result in a fine of up to $50 and one point against your license per improperly restrained child.  A second incident may double the fines and points.

In April 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published new guidelines on children in car seats, recommending that children ride rear-facing until at least age 2!

So, you need a car seat that can rear face that long, possibly even covert into a forward facing seat when ready?

A great resource is Car Seats For Littles, which ALWAYS stays as up to date as possible. Their facebook is a great way to ask questions as well!

Child Safety In and Around Cars is one of their PDFs that can answer a multitude of questions.

Copy of Car Seat Safety Checklist to make absolute sure that your carseat is the one best for your baby and toddler, and it’s installed properly!

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