Child Automotive Restraints: Safer Than Seat Belts

Children wearing child restraints are 30% more likely to survive a car crash than those wearing only a seat belt, says the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In fact, 28 out of every 100 children that died in a car accident that were only wearing a seat belt, could have survived if they had been properly fitted in a booster seat.

These are shocking statistics, but that’s not all: they apply to small children, ages 2 through 6. Parents are very aware that their little babies need protection, but apparently, they are not as informed of the risk to their toddlers and preschoolers.

The Partner for Children’s Passenger Safety, the largest study group for children in car crashes, claims that child automotive restraints could reduce a child’s risk for serious injury to less than one percent.

Choosing the right type of child restraint is the first step. The second, and equally important step, is installing it properly:

  • For infants under one year old or that weigh 20 pounds or less, put the car seat rear-facing and in the back seat. Be sure it fits your vehicle and your child comfortably. Your baby’s head should not reach over the back of the infant seat.

  • For toddlers, 20 to 40 Lbs. switch to a child safety seat with a forward-facing design. The harness strap should fit snuggly and the top of the retainer clip should be leveled with the child’s armpit.

  • Children ages 4-8 should be in a belt-positioning booster seat. The booster simply raises your child in the seat so that your automobile’s lap-shoulder belt is properly positioned across your child’s chest and hips.

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of 13 should remain belted in the back seat. Why? In the case of a head-on collision and deployment of the airbag, larger children and smaller adults are at risk of serious internal injuries.

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