There are some pretty silly daily, weekly, and monthly holidays out there. For example, this month is National Update Your Resume month and just a few days ago on September 13th, we celebrated International Chocolate Day. However, some of these holidays and observances serve a greater purpose and seek to create awareness; Child Passenger Safety Week is one of these important occasions and we are in the midst of it right now, as it occurs this year from September 14 – 20, 2014.
With car crashes ranked as the number one leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13-years-old, this week calls attention to how many of these deaths can be prevented with the proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts. You may think that you are doing the right thing when you secure your child in a child safety seat in your vehicle, but it is not uncommon for parents to make at least one of these simple mistakes:
- Installing the car seat in the wrong part of the car. A car seat should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle because if the air bags deploy, they have the potential to seriously harm or even kill the child. The most ideal location for a child's safety seat is in the back row, middle seat. By putting the child in the middle, you are keeping them as far away as possible from the doors of the vehicle that could be smashed in a car crash.
- Putting the child in a used car seat you don't have information on. Car seats are expensive and you may be tempted to purchase one from a seller on Craigslist, but this is not suggested at all. You need to know for sure how old the car seat is, whether or not it has been recalled, whether there are any parts missing, if the seat is damaged in any way, and if it has ever been involved in a moderate or severe car crash. You also need to have the seat's instructions and a label that clearly shows the manufacture date and model number.
- Moving a child to a forward-facing car seat or booster seat too soon. You may be anxious for your child to reach one of these milestones, but don't rush it. A child should ride rear-facing until they are 2-years-old or 35 pounds; they can switch to a booster seat when the child has reached the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer, which can be anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds.
If you are not sure if your car seat is installed correctly, this Saturday, September 20, 2014 is National Seat Check Saturday. You can find a Child Car Seat Inspection Station close to you by using this location finder.