As parents and caregivers, we try to do everything within our power to protect our children. We take them to the doctor for check-ups. We make them hold our hand in a parking lot, and look both ways before they cross the street.
September 13 – 19 is Child Passenger Safety Week. It’s when we focus on protecting our children from the leading cause of death for infants and children under the age of 13: car accidents. It’s time to focus on the proper way to restrain child passengers in our vehicles. And before you click the next item in your digital life, assuming that you know all you need to about the proper use of car seats, take a look at this:
Most estimates say that 80 to 90 percent of people are doing something with their car seat that they shouldn’t be, or not doing something that they should be. So in case you’re not one of the people in the top ring, Child Passenger Safety Week is a great time to have your child’s car seat checked. Safe Kids Macomb County is having the following check-up events, with no appointment necessary.
- September 12; 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Walter Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills
- September 19; 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Babies R Us on Hall Road in Sterling Heights
In addition, many AAA offices, as well as the Macomb and Oakland County Health Departments offer car seat safety checks by appointment. Call your local offices for more information.
There is no substitute for having a complete car seat safety inspection by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. However here a few quick reminders to help you keep the child passengers in your life safe until you can get to a check-up event.
1. Never use a car seat that is recalled, expired or was involved in a car accident. Those seats are unsafe and should be destroyed. If you aren’t the original owner of your car seat, and you don’t know its history, don’t use the seat.
2. Do not use extra add-on products in, on or around your car seat. Mirrors, toys, strap covers and other products haven’t been crash safety tested, and take away from the safety of the seat.
3. Always use the proper seat for your child’s height, weight and developmental level. Check the manufacturer’s height and weight limits on the seat for specifics. Use the infographic below for guidance.
4. Install your car seat using either lower anchors or a seat belt, but never both. To determine which method is best for your seat and vehicle, always read both your car seat and vehicle manuals.
5. As colder weather approaches, remember to avoid placing your child in a coat or snowsuit in their car seat. Car seat straps should always fit snugly, without excess material between the child and the seat, or the child and the straps. Younger children can stay warm with a blanket over their harness once they’re secured, and older children can wear their jackets backward over their harness or seat belt.
On behalf of the Beaumont Parenting Program, I want to wish you a Happy Child Passenger Safety Week, and wish you safe travels.
– Nicole Capozello, Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST), Beaumont Parenting Program, Beaumont Children’s Hospital