Check Your Child Safety Seats
By: Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service-FL
Your car will remind you to check the oil, but experts say it’s also important to check what’s carrying your most precious cargo. The CDC says in a new report that child deaths in car crashes have declined by 43 percent over ten years, but there’s still work to do, because in a third of accidents that claimed the life of a child age 12 or younger, the child was not properly restrained.
According to Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, Transportation Safety Team Lead in the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention at the CDC, parent education and car seat distribution help make sure more children are buckled up properly, but Florida could do more with a stricter law.
“Child passenger restraint laws that increase the age for car seat or booster seat use result in getting more children buckled up,” she said.
The recommendation is a law to require child safety-seat use through age eight. Florida now requires children be in child safety seats until they are three. The CDC report shows that about 12 children die in car crashes each week in the United States.
Health-care providers also play a role in making sure children are safe in cars and trucks, with Sauber-Schatz suggesting a conversation in the doctor’s office.
“And they can counsel parents and caregivers at each well-child checkup to use age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts on every trip.”
In general, the CDC recommends that all children should ride in the back seat until age 13. Rear-facing car seats are for infants up to age two. Front-facing seats are suitable from two to five. And booster seats are to be used until a child has grown enough for a seat belt to fit properly across the chest and lap.
The report, “CDC Vital Signs: Child Passenger Safety” is at CDC.gov.