Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September is Baby Safety Month

I love the part in Finding Nemo when Marlin tells Dori that he promised Nemo nothing would ever happen to him. Dori, in a short moment of brilliance, says, "That's a funny thing to promise. Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then, nothing would ever happen to him. (Marlin stares at her.) Not much fun for little Harpo." We as parents find ourselves not wanting anything to happen to our kids but of course things will happen because life is full of ups and downs, bumps and bruises, twists and turns-these will all give us experience and knowledge. But we can do our best to keep our children safe from real harm or accident.

So today I'm going to focus a little on car seat safety. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention website, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. Many of these deaths are preventable if the child is placed in a proper car seat. Meaning one that fits your child's size, is correctly installed, fits well in your vehicle, and is used properly every time you drive.

What can you do to make sure your car seat fits all those requirements?
  • There's a really nifty website, www.carseatdata.org, that lets you search for the best car seat for your type of car. You put in the make, model, and year and it will tell you which one will fit the best and which side of the car it fits best as well.
  • Another thing you can do is get your car seat checked to see that it is properly installed. A study by the Department of Transportation found that 72% of cars had car seats and booster seats that were being misused in a way that would have increased the child's risk of injury or death in an accident. Connecticut, as well as many other states, have car seat safety inspection stations. To find a station nearest you go to: www.cruisinwithkids.com and find your state from the drop down menu.
  • Be weary of buying used car seats. If your getting a used car seat make sure that you know the seat's history. Don't use ones with cracks or missing parts. Don't use them if they've ever been in a moderate or severe car accident. Check the label and manufacturer number and call or look up the manufacturer to see how long it recommends using the seat. If the label or manufacturer number are missing don't use the seat. It's better to err on the side of caution in that case.
The other important thing is: BE A SAFE DRIVER YOURSELF!
  • Wear YOUR seat belt.
  • Don't chat or text on your cell phone while driving even if your kids aren't in the car.
  • DON'T DRIVE DRUNK! One out of four occupant deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years involved a drinking driver. More than two-thirds of these fatally injured children were RIDING with a drinking driver. The fact that those kids were in the car WITH the drunk driver floors me. So please be responsible and offer to be the sober driver and find the sober driver when you need it.