2008-05-30 / Community

Life-Saving Car Seat Tips

Car crashes are the number one cause of death among children under the age of fourteen, according to Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers' Insurance Plan. In addition, half of these deaths could be prevented if a child car seat was used properly. The Teachers' Insurance Plan has approved a list of guidelines in an attempt to increase the safety of these young lives.

The first guideline suggests that parents always set a good example, meaning all passengers should be safely secured before starting the engine. In terms of the children themselves, infants up to 20 pounds should be placed correctly within a car seat, located in the back seat facing the rear of the car. If there is no back seat, the airbag in the front should be deactivated. Infants above 20 pounds should be in a convertible safety seat or an infant seat approved for their weight, also in the back seat facing the rear.

Guidelines for children differ slightly, as children 20 to 40 pounds must be protected in a child safety seat, placed in the back seat and facing forward. Children above 40 pounds, and less than 4'9", need not use a child safety seat but utilize a booster seat and an ordinary seat belt, making sure the shoulder belt does not cross the neck or face.

These helpful guidelines, when joined with extra caution and attention, could have saved the lives of the 1,500 children that died due to car crashes.

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