According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children one to 13 years old.
This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, a week to make sure your child’s car seat is in place correctly.
Usually for Child Passenger Safety Week, there are events all over metro Detroit to give parents an option to have their child’s car seat inspected in person. Most of those events are canceled this year because of the pandemic. However, you can do those checks from home.
Erica Surman is the pediatric trauma program manager Beaumont and is a certified child passenger safety technician. She says the number one mistake parents make is turning the car seat around too soon.
“In a crash, their neck is going to jolt forward and their bone is not firmed up, that cartilage is kind of rubbery, and they can have a significant neck injury,” said Surman.
The law in Michigan states a child must be one or 20 pounds, but Surman says the law does not align with best practice.
When it comes to installing your child’s car seat:
- Read the manual. Every car seat comes with one and it will tell you everything you need to know.
- The seatbelt used to secure the car seat should be locked in place. The locking mechanism is what keeps the car seat from moving around.
- The car seat should not move more than an inch once, otherwise it is too loss.
- There is an angel on the side of the car seat, make sure that is aligned properly. Instructions should be in the manual.
- Make sure the car seat does not touch the driver or passenger seat. It has the potential to shift the seat out of place if it does.
When it comes to place your child in their car seat:
- With rear facing seats, the straps should come up from below the shoulders.
- Check to make sure there are no twists in the belt.
- The buckle on the car seat should be at armpit level to your child.
- With winter months around the corner, take your child’s coat off before buckling them in. The coat can compress in a crash. Instead, bring a blanket for for car.
For even more information, Surman suggest parents check out safekids.org.