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Tips for Picking the Best Car Safety Seat for Children
09/17/2010

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Shopping for a child safety seat can be a daunting task for new parents. Securing children properly in age and size appropriate child safety seats, in the back seat of your vehicle, is the most effective thing you can do to protect them in the event of a crash.

And with new state laws requiring children up to age 8 to be in a child restraint, depending on their age, height, and weight, parents aren’t just shopping for babies and toddlers anymore. All 50 states require the use of child safety seats because they do save lives.

Even with these new laws, motor vehicle traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for children age 3 and older.

In 2006, an estimated 425 children younger than 5 years old were saved by child restraints, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using child safety seats reduces the risk of fatal injury in a car crash by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips to parents trying to sort their way through the car safety seat maze. The group recommends that parents keep the following tips in mind:

  • No one seat is the “best” or “safest.” The best seat is the one that fits the child’s size, is correctly installed, fits well in the vehicle, and is used properly every time your drive.
  • Avoid using price as an indicator of quality. A higher price does not mean the seat is safer or easier to use.
  • Stay away from used seats if you don’t know the seat’s history. Never use a car safety seat that is too old, missing instructions, parts or a manufacturer’s labels, has any visible cracks or was recalled.
  • Do not use seats that have been in a crash without checking with the manufacturers’ guidelines.

The good news is that a majority of parents buckle up their children in child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts. However, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3 out of 4 child safety seats are not used properly, which is a grave risk when traveling.

So if you’re a parent or caregiver, don’t miss the free Child Passenger Safety educational events and checkups sponsored by Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville. Texas Health Stephenville offers free car seat checks on the third Wednesday of each month. To schedule a free car seat check, please call 1-877-THR-WELL.

“On this day, parents have the chance to visit with a certified child passenger safety technician, which will inspect their child’s safety seat and provide hands on advice, instructions, and installation demonstrations,” said Jennifer McMeens R.N., clinical educator at Texas Health Stephenville.

Also don’t miss the National Seat Check Saturday, Sept. 25, during Child Passenger Safety Week. The free event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot. No registration is required.

Even if you’ve had your child’s seat inspected before, it never hurts to have a refresher. So don’t miss out on free child safety seat inspections. For more information on car seats, visit healthychildren.org.

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, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy 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 care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health is a partner in eight additional hospitals or surgery centers. Texas Health Physicians Group provides a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas Health SingleSource Staffing is a joint venture designed to help Texas Health hospitals improve patient care by recruiting and retaining quality nurses and allied healthcare professionals. 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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