Car Seat Absolutes

According to observational surveys of children traveling in cars, safety authorities note that only 7% of the children are properly restrained. This makes the family automobile the potential death trap for more than 90% of the children riding in automobiles. How many times have you seen children sitting in a moving automobile without restraining devices? How many children have you seen sitting on adult’s laps or standing on car seats? How many in infants’ seats which are simply hooked over the back of the auto seat? How many times have you seen a child clinging to the dashboard?

All these apparently innocent practices are acts of negligence which make your child the possible victim of injury… or death. Many parents either don’t think it is necessary to have special restraining devices, or else find it easier to give in to the please of their children. They risk cries of pain when they allow themselves to be nagged into giving the child complete freedom to move about the car and to look out the window. In some cases, unfortunately, parents think they have provided for their children’s safety, only to learn too late that the devices used are faulty.

Statistics and tests prove that most accidents take less than 3 seconds. The odds are slim that you can step on the brake and protect a child, even with excellent reflective action. Thus, the seat becomes the launching platform, the child becomes the missile, and the car’s interior becomes the death trap. With a sudden stop at 20 MPH, a 30 pound child is thrust forward with an effective weight of 600 pounds. Even the most protective parent cannot guard his or her offspring against such super-human forces.

What can we do to protect our children? Obviously, the first and most important safety steps to make certain the child sits when in the car, not on someone’s lap, but on the seat. Second, use seat belts with chest restraints, and make certain the belts are properly installed with proper attachment to the body of the car. Third, be careful when installing baby car seats and carriers. Ideally, some provision should be made to secure them to the body of the car possibly by criss-crossing safety belts into a restraining position.

Last but not least, a child should have a spinal examination when even a minor collision or unusual incident occurs. Too often, immediate pain does not occur and the injury is not apparent until the condition progresses. An accident need not be serious to cause serious injury. Children, like adults, are subject to whiplash and other structural problems as a result of shock and awkward or unnatural movements resulting from acute motor vehicle deceleration.

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