Car Seat Safety

Here are a few tips from Kim Fenbert, DNP, CPNP of North Ottawa Medical Group’s Pediatric office about how to keep your kiddos safe in their car seats.

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young children, but if properly restrained, they have a more than 50 percent greater chance of surviving a crash. When driving with children, always use the appropriate car seat or seat belt.

• All babies and toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats until they are 2 years old or until they reach the highest weight or height limit allowed by the car seat.

• Children must be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4-feet-9-inches tall. Children must ride in a seat until they reach the age requirement or the height requirement, whichever comes first.

• Children should ride in the back seat of the vehicle until they reach 13 years old. The force of an air bag may be too intense for children under the age of 13. Studies have found that children are up to 29 percent safer in the back seat, regardless of whether the car has a passenger-side air bag. Children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat.

• If all available rear seats are occupied by children under 4, then a child under 4 may ride in a car seat in the front seat. A child in a rear-facing car seat may only ride in the front seat if the airbag is turned OFF. The front seat positions the child’s head too close to the deploying air bag.

• Children should never ride on a lap, in a portable crib, or in any other device not approved for use in the vehicle.

Tips for buying Car Seats

You should never purchase or borrow a used car seat that:
• Has been involved in a crash
• Has been recalled
• Has no date of manufacture and/or model number
• Has expired (typically after six years)
• Is damaged or missing parts

Car seats should not be purchased at garage sales or second-hand stores since the history of the seat is unknown.

To become a NOMG pediatric patient call, 616.844.4523.

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