May 15, 2008

Car Seat Safety Check to be Held May 22nd

The single most dangerous threat to a child’s life is an automobile accident. It is the leading cause of death in children. In 2003 in the US, 220,000 children were injured in car accidents, 1,591 died. In 2003, more than half the children under 14 who died in motor vehicle accidents were unrestrained. (NHTSA 2004a). Even with the above knowledge this staggering statistic remains true: 94% of all car seats are misused. The seat may be improperly installed, the child may be improperly fitted to the seat or the seat itself may be outdated, been in a serious accident or the history of the seat not known. Car seats are rated for six years after the manufacturers date, which is always located on the seat. The material weakens, as does the plastic. A major automobile accident will also put stress on a car seat rendering it less secure. The proper use of car seats reduced the death of infants by 71% and toddlers by 55%.

Effective, August 2006, children who have outgrown a car seat are required to be secured in a booster seat if they are under eight years old unless they reach 80 pounds or 4 foot 9 inches before that birthday and children weighing more than 80 pounds or over 4 feet 9 inches are required to be in safety belt or a booster seat appropriate for that child. Booster seats help position and restrain the child properly preventing neck and abdominal injuries as well as death. You may think most of these deaths were from fiery highway collisions but the truth is that 75% of most car accidents happen within 25 miles of home and 60% of them happen on streets where the speed limit is 40 mph or less. No child under the age of 12 should sit in the front seat.

National Safe Kids; Scotland County Health Department; MFH, a philanthropic organization whose vision is to improve the health of the community it serves and Pamida will be hosting a car seat check on Thursday, May 22, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. It will be held in the Pamida parking lot. Please call 465-7275 to make an appointment. There will be car seats available if needed. Drive-ins will be welcome as time permits. Please bring your car, car seat and child for checking and fitting.

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