House Calls

FAL 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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for the family B oasting built-in anchors, energy-absorbing foam, and Bluetooth monitor- ing, car seats today may be safer than ever, reducing the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. With vehicular accidents leading the causes of death among U.S. children, and more than 11,500 child-involved traffic collisions statewide in 2016, it's no wonder parents have gone gaga over such safety features. But those protections lose their impact when installed improperly, and that's the case with three out of four car seats, reports Safe Kids Worldwide. While conducting free car seat safety inspections, North Charleston Fire Department fire and life safety educator Laura Kondor frequently observes caregivers installing car seats too loosely, placing infant carriers too close to the front seat, and leaving harnesses too slack. To avoid these mistakes, she administers the "inch" and "pinch" tests: When wiggled at the belt path, a properly affixed car seat won't move more than an inch in any direction, and to protect against forward impact, an inch of clearance should exist between a rear-facing carrier and the seat back in front of it. Once buckled, the harness needs to be tightened to the point that extra material near the child's shoulders cannot be pinched. Vehicle compatibility can affect installation, too. The center back seat is the safest location for a child, but only in a vehicle designed to hold a car seat there. (In some compact cars, that location is actually unsafe.) A recent poll also found that about one-fourth of children move to forward-facing seats too early. "Once toddlers get more active and start to fight the car seat, parents often want to turn them around," says Kondor. "But rear-facing cradles the neck and spine more effectively, making it the safest position." Last year, South Carolina passed a law stating that children must remain rear-facing until age two. When selecting a car seat, make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and state regulations for height, weight, and age minimums. Secondhand units are fine if you are certain of the seat's complete history and can guarantee it hasn't expired or been in an accident. Safe Travels Tighten up your understanding of the latest car seat regulations and recommendations to ensure the safety of young passengers – B Y J E S S I C A G R E E N S M I T H Buckle up! The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to keep children in the back seat until age 13. By law, children must ride in a rear passenger seat until the age of eight (unless all rear seats are occupied by children under age eight or the vehicle doesn't have a back seat). Here's what you need to know about selecting the right car seat for your most precious cargo: Rear-Facing: Birth to age 2, unless child exceeds height/weight limit specified by manufacturer Forward-Facing: Ages 2 to 4, unless child exceeds manufacturer- specified height/weight limit; must be secured by five-point harness Booster Seat: Ages 4+, until child meets height/fit requirements for seat belt; must use lap and shoulder belts 4 Seat Belt: Ages 8+, or 57 inches tall; must be secured properly (lap belt rests over thighs and hips, shoulder belt crosses center of chest, back rests flat against cushion, and knees bend over seat edge without slouching) a. The car seat is only one month past the manufacturer's expiration date. b. Your vehicle had to be towed away from a collision, but the car seat was unoccupied at the time of the wreck. c. The car seat appears to be in good condition, but the labels containing height and weight restrictions have rubbed off. d. All of the above Answer: d. In each situation, safety features may be compromised. To dispose of an unusable car seat, cut harness straps and mark an "X" on the shell before placing it curbside. You can also recycle old car seats during trade-in events at some retailers or contact the fire department to see if they can use the seat for demonstrations. POP QUIZ! In which of the following scenarios should you replace your child's car seat? To find a local car seat inspection station, visit safe-kids-charleston-area. 12 { fall 2018 } h o u s e c a l l s

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