OF THE BABY
labor & delivery
Check your car-seat knowledge with the quiz below. But even
if you score 100 percent, read on. According to Heather Paul, Ph.D., Executive
Director of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign®, a startling eight out of ten
parents who use car seats do so incorrectly! To help protect your kids in the
car, bone up on the following points:
Car Seat Safety
Car seats are extremely effective. When correctly installed and used,
they reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants (under age 1) and by 54
percent for toddlers (ages 1 to 4).
Children ages 4 and under and/or weighing less than 40 pounds are required by
most state laws to be protected by car seats. See "Which Car Seat to
Choose," opposite, to find a seat that's right for your child.
Never place a child in the front seat of a car, even in a car seat. If
the car is equipped with a passenger air bag, the force of the air bag, upon
impact, could kill or seriously injure a child 12 and under.
Beginning in 1998, all new cars will be equipped with driver and
front-passenger air bags. The back seat is the safest place to ride.
Always use infant car seats rear-facing only!
If you must buy or borrow a used car seat, do so with caution and be sure it
meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. Used car seats may have been
damaged in a crash and may have hidden flaws. Also, make sure that the seat
comes with its original user's manual or instruction booklet. Follow these
instructions and the car owner's manual without fail. Don't use seats
manufactured before 1981; before this date, seats weren't required to pass a
dynamic crash test and may not protect a child in a crash.
Your car seat should be compatible with your car. Read both the car-seat
and car manuals to verify that the seat fits snugly. Try out different models
before making a purchase. Register your car seat with the manufacturer so you
can be notified in the even of a recall.
Taxicabs and rental vehicles are covered by some state child-occupant safety
laws and require the use of child safety seats. Always bring your child's
car seat along when you use these forms of transportation.
Find out how savvy you are about children and motor-vehicle injuries.
Take this quiz:
Q. What is the
leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 14
2. Motor-vehicle crashes
A. The correct answer is number 2. Children
are particularly at risk from death and injury as passengers in motor
vehicles. Motor-vehicle safety features are designed to protect an
adult-size body and may actually put children at greater risk. To
prevent injury and death, always use the restraint system (car seats,
booster seats, or seat belts) appropriate for your child's age and size.
Q. True or
False: If a child is small enough holding her in your arms while someone
else drives will keep her safe, as long as you're not on the highway.
A. False! In a crash, a child held in your arms is
never safe. A 30-mile-per-hour impact will
tear a baby from the hold of even the strongest adult.
ages 14 and under are more likely to die from motor-vehicle crashes:
2. During the months from May to September
3. Between the hours of 3p.m. and 5p.m.
4. All of the above
A. The correct answer is number 4. According
to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign®, half of all deaths occur on
weekends, half happen during the warmer months, and more than one
quarter occur in the late afternoon.
How can 79 percent of those who use child seats do so incorrectly? A
1996 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows the
||used the seat's locking clip the wrong way or
failed to use it at all.
||misused the car seat's harness-retainer chest
clip or failed to use it at all.
||misused the harness strap or failed to use it at
||fastened the car's safety belt incorrectly over
the car seat.
||turned the car seat in the wrong direction.
||failed to buckle the car seat's harness.