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Car Seats: Facts and Fiction

Often, parents believe that they are being very cautious in protecting their children. However, at times they can forgo one essential safety precaution; buckling up their children while in the car. Kids can fuss and despise being secured to their seat. Even if you're just traveling a block or two, you'll be glad you put up with a tantrum instead of facing a serious or fatal injury. Car seats are vital to your children's safety. Below we will separate myths and truths involved in their use.

Your Arms Will Protect Your Child in a Collision

One myth parents can believe is that their arms are able to do that work of car seats in a pinch. This idea causes them think that their arms have enough protective force to hold their children in case of a vehicle crash. Parents need to know that holding their children during a car crash may actually cause more harm than protect them due to the basic physics involved. During a car crash, the body's weight is multiplied with the speed at which the car is traveling. For example, a 130 pound person in a car traveling at just 20 miles per hour becomes a 2600 pound force during a crash. This force will crush the child rather than keep them safe. Furthermore, the child's weight undergoes the same physics. A mere 5 pound infant in the same car will become a 120 pound force against anyone who holds it which poses a risk to both the child and parent. Rather than be a harm to your child, opt to use car seats as they are specifically designed for the purpose of keeping your children safe in a crash. Car seats also help restrain children in one place and shield them from bumping into windows, seats and other car components and injuring themselves with the high force generated during impact.

Kids Dislike Car Seats

Many children, especially toddlers who are testing their exploration skills may feel restrained by a car seat. However, their discomfort versus safety is not a matter to consider as health and safety always come first. Initially, children will naturally be very resistant to car seats and will often cry or fuss, but if it becomes a daily routine, they will get used to it as time goes on. Children who are timid may feel more comfortable not bouncing around in a seat with the normal movement of the car traveling over the road.

All Children Should Use Car Seats

Children under 2 years need car seats more than older children. The bones of their skulls are not fully fused and vulnerable, as well as their necks and spines, which are not fully developed. Just these two factors place them at a higher risk of brain damage and severe injuries when involved in motor accidents. While infants have a higher risk of damage, their older siblings need the protection of a car seat just as much.

Children No Longer Need Car Seats Once They Outgrow Them

Another common myth is that children outgrow using car seats. The child may grow in height and weight, not fitting into their initial car seat, but they should move on to one more age and size appropriate. Replacing the car seat appropriately should continue until the child is over 5 feet tall and can use the adult seat belt. The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that only after an infant's head outgrows the top of the rear-facing seat, often at 2 years, can they move to the forward facing seat. After the child also outgrows the forward facing seat often at 4 years, they graduate to a booster. Once they are 5 feet tall, often when they are 8 years, are they able to use just the seat belt. The good news is that many car seats can be adjusted to serve the children as they grow, thus cutting down on costs.

Car Seats Can Be Handed Down

This statement is true to some extent. However, handing down car seats should be done with caution. The expiration date of the seat should be checked before handing it down. It's condition, especially the straps and buckles, also need to be checked for any damages which compromise their ability to offer the safety needed.

Take control of your child's safety while in the car. More tips are available online and through our blogs.

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