Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Car Seat Safety. It's everyones Issue.

I am a person who is very passionate about many subjects.  One of those subjects is car seat safety.  Nothing makes my heart and stomach plummet faster than hear of or seeing someone not using their car seat properly.  And what is even worse is that this happens very often because:

98% of people are not using their car seat correctly.  

At least three child endangering mistakes are made by most parents while installing car seats.
Many inspectors completing seat checks for free have inadequate training, expired certifications and/or outdated product knowledge.

That is a HUGE! 

 And this is something i'm torn about.  When i see a car seat not being used right i want to say something so bad because impropper use of car seats puts children's lives at risk.  

In the United States during 2005, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 184,000 were injured. That’s an average of 4 deaths and 504 injuries each day.

Among children under age 5, in 2006, an estimated 425 lives were saved by car and booster seat use.  (Imagine how much higher that number would be if those 98% of car seats were being used properly?!?!) (source)

Car seat safety is easy.  It's something that could significantly reduce your child's risk of injury or death.  It makes me so sad when i try to talk with people who i see are not using their car seats correctly and they lash back at me like i'm some horrible person.  That i'm just trying to be a know it all.  But this is not the case at all.  The reason i speak up is because the child cannot.  And perhaps that person *honestly* didn't know they were doing something wrong. I do not want anyone to go through having to bury their child because i *have*.  Even though there was nothing i could have done to prevent her death, it's the hardest thing i've ever had to do, placing my child in her casket for burial.  I do not want any other parent to have to go through that. 

So i will continue to speak up, even if it makes others uncomfortable, mad,  or even hostile towards me.  

So what are the mistakes caregivers make?

Well, the first big thing people are ignoring or just dont' know is that the AAP recommends that you keep children rear facing as long as possibe.  "Toddlers should remain rear-facing in a convertible car seat until they have reached the maximum height and weight recommended for the model, or at least the age of 2." (source)
The rule of 1 year and 20lbs is NO MORE! 

REMEMBER, toddlers are more than five times safer riding rear-facing in a car seat.  And 2 years is just the minimum.  Most children can rear face to 3 to 4 years.

Ok, now that we all understand this we'll go on. I know this next part seems like an overload of information but please, just take a moment of your time to read through these short articles and videos. 
Remember your child's life could depend on it.

9 Lifesaving Car Seat Rules You're Probably Ignoring
7 Car Seat Safety Rules You Still May Have Missed

Winter car seat safety
Does your baby wear a coat in the car?
Car Seat Safety: 10 Nightmare Mistakes

7 Rules for Buying & Installing a Car Seat
Parents issues with rear facing and the counter claims
Car seat tips you may have missed
Booster Seat Safety
Don't let your baby sleep in a car seat outside of the car
If you trust the media your baby is in dangerCar Seat Tips for Preemies and small newborns
worst car seats of 2010

Rear Facing VS. Forward Facing

Forward Facing or Rear Facing?

Importance of 5 point harness

More Information on Car Seat Safety

And now i will draw this to a close.  I hope that i did not offend anyone.  I am not trying to imply that i know more than you, or that i'm better than you.  I just want our children to be safe and i do not want any other parent to have to go through the heart ache of burying their child.  Please, pass this information on to all those around you!  Share this post in your blogs, on your facebook, where ever you would like (just please give credit).  Please work with me to keep our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and Godchildren safe.  Speak up when you see someone doing something wrong.  They might not know any better!  But it could still be a fatal mistake.  Thank you for taking the time to read this important message.

And for anyone who knows me in real life, and would like to contact a car seat technician let me know.  She is available for email/phone calls and (free)local carseat checks.

Did any of you learn something new from this post?  Have any of you also spoken up when you saw someone doing something wrong?


Chris and Bonnie said...

You are not alone in sharing this kind of information with parents who don't want to hear it. When working at a child care center, a mom of, granted a very big boy, started to put him in a front facing child seat when he was only 8 months old. True he was 26 lbs. and looked more like a toddler than an infant, but his body was still growing and developing as an infant. When I spoke up she got very defensive and didn't change because of convenience. I pray that she doesn't get into a car accident with him in the car. Even though he is a big boy, his body is still growing the same as other children. Thank you for sharing this information!

Jillyn said...

Thanks for sharing Bonnie. I've had some mothers get *very* defensive when i try to share correct information. It makes me so sad. I understand no one likes to hear they are doing something wrong, especially when it comes to their child's safety. But some people honestly just don't know. You can't feel bad if you didn't know. What matters is that you change what you are doing and don't continue to make the same mistakes :)

Krista said...

Once I was shopping and a family had their child int he carseat (still). The chest plate was down around his bellybutton and the straps were very loose. I worked up the courage to go up them and tell them the chest plate was supposed to be at armpit level and the straps needed to be tighter or he could slip out the top in an accident. They stared at me, said they knew that, and kept on shopping without changing a thing. I nearly cried.