Monday, October 24, 2011

Keeping Our Children Safe in the Car

Keeping Our Children Safe in the Car

We would all like to think we are the best parents that we can be. But when I read a blog post some time back it was surprising how it stuck with me longer than most I have read. I thought since it has stuck, it would be a good idea to share it with you.

The topic of the post was something that is important to us all, our children’s safety, specifically while traveling in the car. Traveling can be by car or by plane and the use of proper child restraints. Child restraints while traveling is something that we all know we need, but are we using diligent care? 

The child safety post summarized C-Span forum that he had watched that included experts from major agencies such as the Center for Disease Control, Highway Safety Research, National Transportation Safety Bureau as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics. And we know these folks can back up what their saying. 

The opening statement in the forum was, “If common sense were a reliable guide we wouldn’t need science.”
The video went on to say that even though the number of child deaths in accidents has dropped over the past twenty years, largely due to the work of the NTSB, we still have one child a week, every week, every year that dies in an auto accident. This is not counting those children who are permanently injured. The topic moved to booster seats and how many parents believe they have the use guidelines right and they do not. The author went into something just as terrible, brain damage. I personally had to check his statistics on this because I found it so heart wrenching. 

Here are a few of the things we learned from the video:
·         Our personal choice of what type and how we use child restraints may determine how our children survive an automobile accident. 

·         Vigilant  100% use of child restraints would have saved the 63 children that lost their lives in 2009.
·         Automobiles are the major source of brain injuries right next to falls.

·         Our government has the statistics that prove our babies and toddlers have a higher rate of surviving than our preteens, of course we just put the younger ones right into their child restraints. 

Think about this, the babies survive but the older ones don’t. The reason why is because the most traumatic brain injury is caused by violent contact with doorposts, windshields and windows. A pre-teen that is not wearing a seatbelt or is sitting with a seatbelt that is not properly adjusted is at risk.

How many arguments have you had with your children about staying in a booster seat after they began school?

“Safety is not negotiable”- this is one of the threads on the forum that I watched myself. The discussion was on how parents become educated on the proper use of the child restraints and how to deal with stubborn pre-teens. “Safety is not negotiable,” is a phrase that parents use when dealing with children who try to negotiate their way out of things. 

The Association of American Pediatrics released their updated recommendations for child auto safety. Here are a few pointers I consider important.

·         The Association of American Pediatrics (April 2009) states that babies and toddlers should remain in rear facing seats until they are two years old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height for the child seat.

·         Older children may need to stay in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are between 8 and 12 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.



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