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Keeping Kids Car-Safe

By Steve Anderson

My daughter Kelly works at the Duke University Medical Center emergency department in Durham, North Carolina, as a trauma nurse with a specialty in pediatrics. She loves kids! And she likes to make sure they’re safe.

She has completed a five-day course to become certified as a National Child Passenger Safety Technician (see SafeKids.org for more information). I was amazed that it would take that long to learn how to safely use a child’s car seat.

There are a couple of government websites that also provide information about child passenger safety. These include:

Here are some basic recommendations for all ages:

  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age, height, and weight.
  • Keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as your child fits the seat’s height and weight requirements.
  • All children under 13 should ride in the back seat.

It is important to follow your car seat manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual on how to properly install the car seat. According to Kelly, a high percentage of car seats are not installed properly, and thus will not provide the maximum protection for children in an accident.

Certified technicians are available around the country to check your car seat installation for free. Go to SafeKids.org to look up the information in your state.

Nat'l Seat Check SaturdaySeptember 24, 2011, is National Seat Check Saturday. Take advantage of this free service to have your car seat installation checked by a certified car seat technician.