EARLY YEARS: Child Passenger Safety Tips

These dolls represent how children should be restrained in the appropriate car seats
These dolls represent how children should be restrained in the appropriate car seats(WDBJ)
Published: Sep. 25, 2019 at 11:24 AM EDT
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Installing a car seat may SEEM easy, but it's still best to leave it up to the professionals.

"Most parents and caregivers don't realize how complicated it is. They don't realize that they're probably doing something wrong. Seventy to 90 percent of car seats installed by parents and caregivers are installed incorrectly," says Carilion Clinic educator Jill Lucas.

Another big danger for kids is the potential for hot car injuries and deaths. Despite frequent reminders, it's still happening.

"Well, I think that the big stumbling block is that everyone thinks that will never happen to me," says Lucas.

Some great ways to remember that your child is in the back seat is to place an object, like a stuffed animal in the front seat. Or, leave something else important in the back seat.

"Put your pocketbook in the back seat of the car. Put your wallet in the back seat of the car. Put your cell phone in the back seat of the car, so you're not forgetting your child," suggests Lucas.

Once the weather turns chilly, Lucas says NEVER put a coat on your baby before placing them in a car seat. The straps won't be able to properly secure them. Here's a safer option.

"So, once you get them in there all nice and tight and snug, then you can just take their jacket and just either lay it on them or you can have them stretch their arms and you can put it on them backwards and they can stay nice and warm like that."

A couple new Virginia laws went into effect this summer. Children need to be in rear-facing seats at least until they turn two.

State law also requires kids to use booster seats at least until they turn eight, but Lucas says there are exceptions.

"A child really needs to be around four feet, nine inches tall or 100 pounds before they come out of a booster seat. Because again, what parents don't realize is that seat belts in cars are made for adults."

A lot of kids won't like this one, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids never ride in the front seat before the age of 13.

"It's because of airbags. It's because most crashes are frontal crashes and we do want to make sure we're keeping everybody in that back seat as long as we can."

Car Safety Seat Check

Thursday, September 26

Christiansburg Fire Department on Depot Street

4:00 pm until 6:00 pm

Also, there are safety seat checks every third Thursday of the month at the Jamison Avenue Fire Station in Roanoke from 4:00 until 6:00 pm.

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