Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

10 Things to Know About Child Passenger Safety Seats

Recently, Betsy Williams, one of our two first-rate Health Dept. nurses, underwent 4 full days of training and testing to become a Certified Child Safety Seat Technician, a designation our other nurse, Chandra Corbin, attained earlier in her career. Health Commissioner Donna Laake has been a certified instructor for 6-7 years and taught during 2 of the 4 days of classes Betsy took. When we expressed wonder that car seat training could take as many 32 hours, Donna Laake told us she had the same reaction prior to taking the classes 10 years ago: “What in the world could take 4 days to learn about car seats? After the class, though, on my evaluation I said they should consider adding a 5th day because of the amount of material that is covered. I share that with my students now when I teach the class.”

That’s good enough for us, especially since we also learned from this Children’s Hospital Care Safety Seat Guide that “more than 600 children under the age of 5 die as a result of motor vehicle crashes, and more than 130,000 suffer injuries. Child safety seats could prevent as many as 70 percent of those deaths and more than 60 percent of the injuries.”

The Norwood Health Dept. does between 350-400 free car seat checks each year and encourages all parents and all others who transport children in car seats to take advantage of their free inspections. Just call 458-4600 to make an appointment. In the meantime, Donna, Betsy, and Chandra collaborated (thank you all!) on the following list of 10 important items in order to give our readers just a small sampling of the intricacies of child car seat safety:

10 Things You Should Know About Child Passenger Safety Seats

1. Children should remain rear-facing in an infant seat until they are BOTH 1 year old and weigh 20 pounds.
2. Children should remain in a child restraint until they are BOTH 4 years old and weigh 40 pounds (Ohio law).
Parents should read the instruction manual for the car seat. Not all seats are the same and some have very specific instructions for use.

4. Rear facing car seats should NEVER be placed in the front seat with an airbag. If the airbag deploys, it could crush the car seat and the child.
5. Rear facing seats should be installed at approximately a 45 degree angle.
Parents should read the automobile manual to make sure the car seat can be safely installed in the position where it is placed. Children are the safest in the CENTER position.

Car seats should be installed tightly so that they do not move more than one inch from side-to-side or
front-to-back when checked at the path of the seat belt.

8. After-market products (items that did not come with the seat when purchased) are not recommended for use because they have n0ot been tested in crash situations.
9. Check to ensure the seat remains installed tightly each time you placed your child in the car seat.
10. Harness straps should be snug on your child (you should not be able to pinch any webbing at the top). The clip should be properly secured and placed at armpit level.