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> Car Seat Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

Safety of your child should always be  your top priority, more so when travelling. Globally, road crashes is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 5-14. That does not mean that you should totally avoid land transport by car as it is impractical, however what you should do is to read on and learn some tips and things to avoid as you buckle your child up for a journey.

Tip #1

Get a car seat! You would be breaking law in most country should you travel with your child in the car without  getting him/ her seated in a car seat that is appropriate for  his/her age, weight and height.  Each car seat has an expiration date,  typically around six years. Find the label and double check to make sure it is still safe to use. For second-hand car seats, make sure to check its history for any past crash that it may have been involved in.

Tip #2

Make sure your child rides in the backseat. The backseat is generally the safest place and provides the best protection in an event of a crash. You can find the exact height and weight limit on the side or back of your car seat. If your vehicle has a passenger air bag, it's essential for children 12 and under to ride in back.

Tip #3

Make sure infants ride facing the rear until they're about age 1 and at least 9 to 10 kg. Infants who weigh 9kg before 1 year of age should ride in a restraint approved for higher rear-facing weights. Always read your child restraint owner's manual for instructions on properly using the restraint. Children over age 1 and at least 9kg may ride facing forward. This is because children have large heads and comparatively weak necks, so in a head-on collision a child's head can jerk forward suddenly and violently, resulting in spinal injuries.

Tip #4

Check to see that the safety belt holds the seat tightly in place. Having a car seat with it being installed incorrectly would defeat its purpose. Put the belt through the correct slot. If your safety seat can be used facing either way, use the correct belt slots for each direction. The safety belt must stay tight when securing the safety seat. This would only take 10 to 15mins.

Tip #5

Make sure the harness is buckled snugly around your child. Keep the straps over your child's shoulder and make sure it is not twisted. The harness should be adjusted so you can slip only one finger underneath the straps at your child's chest.

Tip #6

Have children over 18kg use a booster seat. Keep your child in a safety seat with a full harness as long as possible since the car seat will provide more protection as compared to a booster seat. Then use a belt-positioning booster seat, which helps the adult lap and shoulder belt fit better. A belt-positioning booster seat, used with the adult lap and shoulder belt, is preferred for children weighing 18 to 36 kg.

Tip #7

Check safety belt fit on older children. The child must be tall enough to sit without slouching, with knees bent at the edge of the seat, with feet on the floor. The lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest over the shoulder and across the chest. Never put the shoulder belt under the child's arm or behind her back. The adult lap and shoulder belt system alone will not fit most children until they're at least 150cm and weigh about 36kg.

Caution #1

Do not let kids share one seat belt. Crash tests have shown that when two children ride buckled into one seat belt, in an accident their heads can knock together with potentially fatal force.

Caution #2

Do not hold your child on your lap. It's tempting to lift your child out of the car seat and hold him in your arms when he's having a tantrum after hours on the road, or when you're making a quick dash from one place to another with friends and it's easier for everyone to pile into the same vehicle than to take separate cars. This might seem safe enough. After all, you'd hold your child tight if anything happens, right? But the truth is that even if you're belted in, your child could be ripped from your arms by the force of a collision. And if you manage to get the seat belt around both of you, your weight could actually crush your child to death.

So as much as your child may scream — and as inconvenient as taking your own car is when the two of you could just hop into someone else's —never let your child ride in a moving car unless he's safely strapped into an age-appropriate, correctly installed car seat or booster.

Follow these advices and take note of common mistakes parents make for a ride that can protect your child in the event of any accident.


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