Proper car seat installation and use makes all the difference
A parent's worst nightmare can be that their child is injured. If you're a parent you know that some injuries are unintentional and unavoidable.
Unfortunately some parents' worst nightmare comes true in car accidents. According to The Journal of Pediatrics the most common cause of death in children is an unintentional injury. The most common unintentional injuries are caused by car crashes.
As a parent you can't predict when a car crash will occur. However you can take preventative steps to ensure that your child is safe if they are ever involved in one.
Here are some car seat safety tips to reduce injury if your child is involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Double-check that your child is properly secured
The force of a car accident can result in a child being violently jolted and can cause damage to soft tissues and internal organs.
Between 2010 and 2014 43 percent of child deaths from car accidents were due to the child being unrestrained or improperly restrained. Studies have shown that proper restraint can reduce a child's head movement by four to six inches in a crash.
Proper restraint includes anchoring the car seat using straps. Every car made after 2003 has anchors to ensure that a child seat can be secured.
Another method of preventing injury is to dress your child appropriately. Children should be dressed in tight fighting clothing with no more than one inch of room under the straps.
Your car's owner's manual should include further child seat safety instructions.
Be overly cautious when selecting a car seat
The type and age of a car seat can affect how effective it will be in a car accident.
Purchasing a new car seat is often times a good way to ensure that the seat is up to safety standards and has not been damaged.
Extreme caution should be exercised when purchasing a used car seat. Mayo Clinic staff advise against purchasing a car seat that is more than six years old. Car seats older than six years may be expired -- or not up to motor vehicle safety standards -- or may have been recalled without your knowledge.
Each seat should come with the manufacture date and model number that you can use to research the safety of the seat.
Place the car seat away from airbags
While airbags can save the lives of older children and adults it can also take the life of small children. Airbags deploy at rapid speeds and the force can seriously injure a child.
As such infants and young children should be placed away from airbags. The safest location for a car seat is in the back seat.
If the child needs to be placed in a vehicle with no back seats Mayo Clinic staff recommend deactivating the airbags. By securing your child's seat in the proper location you can prevent an airbag from deploying and injuring your child.
Car accidents claim the lives of thousands of children every year. By following these safety tips you may be able to reduce injury to your child if they are ever in a crash.