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Car seat safety tips

Author John Thompson
Submitted 22-07-2010

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.

Officials say many of these deaths and other injuries can be prevented by fathers following simple parenting advice to place their kids in age and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats.

Children under 1-year old and weighing less than 20 pounds should ride in rear-facing car seats. Experts say children under 40 pounds and 4-years old should remain in traditional car seats as well.

When they’re over 4-years old and weigh more than 40 pounds, they can use a booster-style seat that elevates them enough to make using a regular seat belt safe. Kids should remain in these booster seats until they are at least four feet, nine inches or taller.

Making sure seats are correctly installed is important as well. Many police and fire stations will check the installation of a car seat free of charge. Fathers can also find a nearby car seat safety inspection site at SeatCheck.org.

"Incorrect usage of car seats and child restraints has played a large role in motor vehicle accidents continuing to be the leading killer of children in our country," said Dr Karen Judy of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

While children should always ride in the back seat, experts say another important safety tip is for parents to set a good example by always wearing a seat belt.