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Free Community Car Seat Check Hosted by Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville on Sept. 24
09/19/2011

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Did you know that Texas state law requires children to be in a car safety seat until they are eight years of age, unless the child is taller than 4-foot-9?

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville urges parents and caregivers to have their children’s car seats checked on National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 24. Certified child passenger safety technicians from Texas Health Stephenville will be available to inspect car seats and provide free hands-on advice from 9 a.m. to noon in the Stephenville Walmart parking lot.

“The federal government recently released updated car seat recommendations for children through age 12,” said Jennifer McMeens, R.N., B.S.N., child passenger safety technician. “We want to make sure you’re aware of the new recommendations and help you do all you can to best protect your child when traveling.”

In motor vehicle crashes, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children younger than 1 and by 54 percent for children 1 to 4 in passenger cars, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2009 alone, 754 children 12 or younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes while riding in passenger cars or light trucks. And among those who were fatally injured where restraint use was known, 42 percent were unrestrained. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented if the children were in the right restraint for their age and size.

The NHTSA recently released updated car seat recommendations for children through age 12. The new recommendations emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next type:

  • Birth – 12 months
    For the best possible protection, your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
  • 1 – 3 years
    Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
  • 4 – 7 years
    Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
  • 8 – 12 years
    Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.

The NHTSA’s general recommendations for care seat safety include:

Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.

  • Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
  • To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
  • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should visit a local inspection station such as the Texas Health Stephenville car seat check to assist them in proper use of their children’s car seats.

“On National Seat Check Saturday, take advantage of the opportunity to have your car seat checked by certified technicians. The safety of your child should come first,” said McMeens.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is a 98-bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital's services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women’s services, advanced diagnostic imaging, and wound care. Texas Health Stephenville, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Stephenville.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.

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