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Summer Traveling Tips

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Now that summer is in full swing, it seems like everyone is out and about enjoying the nice weather. Whether it’s summer vacations, road trips, or just driving to and from the amusement or water park, experts agree that one of the biggest risks to traveling in the summer is child passenger safety. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that one child under the age if 13 is involved in a crash every 33 seconds. According to the Pennsylvania’s “Law of Love”, all children from birth to 4 years of age must be secured in an approved car seat anywhere in the vehicle. All children 4 years of age or order, but less than 8 years of age, must be secured in a seat belt system in an appropriate child booster seat anywhere in the vehicle. Here’s some tips from the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project that can make your summer trips a little easier and a whole lot safer.

  1. Not buckling up or not using a car seat.

    A seat belt or car seat’s primary function is to prevent ejection from the vehicle. Being ejected from the vehicle makes occupants 4x more likely to die. As for car seats, they reduce the need for hospitalization by 69% and reduce death by more than 70% for infants. So keep yourself and the kids safe. Make sure everyone is buckled up properly! And don’t forget….it’s the law!

  2. Not reading the car seat’s manufacturer’s instructions

    The instruction booklet that comes with a car seat contains all the information necessary to use the car seat. It covers the height and weight limits for the car seat, how to use the harness system, how to install the car seat in the vehicle and other safety information. Read the booklet and keep it with the car seat so that you can be sure to use the seat correctly.

  3. Picking the wrong car seat

    Although it’s nice to have a car seat with a pretty or sure pattern, that is not how a car seat should be selected. When selecting a car seat for a child, it is important to take into account the child’s age, weight, height, physical development, and behavioral needs. If the car seat happens to match the interior of the vehicle, it is just a bonus. Safety should always come first when selecting a car seat.

  4. Getting the wrong advice

    There are many resources that provide advice and information on selecting and using car seats. Be sure you are getting current, accurate, and correct information on car seats and safely transporting children. Visit www.pakidstravelsafe.org or call 1-800-CAR-BELT for information from nationally certified child passenger safety technicians.

  5. Not installing the car seat correctly

    Car seat misuse rates are well over 80%. That means that many car seats in use are not used and installed correctly. If after reading the instruction manual that came with the car seat you still are not sure about the installation of your child’s car seat…call in some help to get the job done. You can call 1-800-CAR-BELT to find out about events in your area where certified car seat technicians will work with you to teach you how to properly use and install your child’s car seat. The car seat will also be checked to make sure the car seat is not recalled.

  6. Not properly maintaining the car seat

    Car seats go through a lot in the car, nut there is a right way and a wrong way to clean and maintain the car seat. If you must wash the seat cover or harness, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid using harsh cleaners or bleach and NEVER iron the harness straps. Improperly washing the car seat can cause damage and reduce the protection it offers.

  7. Buying too many extras to go on your car seat

    There are all sorts of extra gadgets that fit on car seats. These products, known as non-regulated or after-market products may be convenient but they may interfere with the way the car seat operates. These non-regulated products, including harness covers, neck rolls, toys that attach to the car seat, and infant seat covers have not been crash tested with your car seat and may interfere with the way the car seat is designed to work in a crash. As a rule of thumb, it is best to NOT use these products. There are some exceptions, so before adding one of these products, call your car seat manufacturer to determine if the item can be used.

  8. Not making the harness tight enough

    The harness system in a child’s car seat is what holds the child during a crash. Make sure the harness is snug against the child’s body. How snug is snug enough? You want to make sure you cannot pinch any extra wedding at the shoulder if you can run two fingers against the harness. Your finger should slide off the wedding smoothly.

  9. Ignoring the height or weight limit on the car seat

    Most parents will need to buy several different car seats to accommodate a growing child. Make sure you pay close attention to the height and weight requirements on the car seat. It is best practice to keep a child in a car seat with a harness until the highest weight/height limits allowed by the manufacturer. As your child grows, keep tabs on their exact weight and height, and make sure they fit the specifications of the car seat.

  10. Using a seat that is too old or had been involved in a crash

    Car seats can get expensive, so many parents try to cut costs by using an old or second hand car seat. Car seat manufacturers provide an expiration date for the car seat and it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. Typically, car seats have a lifespan of 6 years. Know the history of the car seat you are using. A car seat that has been involved in a crash may not provide the same protection. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding use of a car seat after a crash.

 

Bonus Travel Tips:

  • All children 12 and under should ride in the back seat

  • Infants should ride rear facing and semi-reclined to no more than 45 degrees until they are 2 years old and at least 20 pounds. And remember, NEVER place a rear facing safety seat in the front of an active passenger side air bag!

  • Toddlers can ride forward facing and upright once they reach age 2 and at least 20 pounds. Children should stay in a forward facing safety seat with a harness until they reach the maximum harness weight of 40-85 pounds unless they have outgrown the height allowed for the car seat.

  • Children who have outgrown their forward facing child safety seats should be properly restrained in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt until they are at least 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.

  • Children should stay in a belt positioning booster seat until they fit the vehicle seat and the lap and shoulder belt fits the child correctly.

  • For children who are at least 8 years old through adult, it is important to fit the seat belt properly. The child must be tall enough to sit on the vehicle seat without slouching. When the back and the buttocks are against the vehicle seat back, the child’s knees bend over the front edge of the seat. The child can keep their feet flat on the floor and be able to stay comfortably seated this way. The lap belt should fit snugly across the hips and upper thighs. The shoulder belt should cross the center of the chest and collarbone. The child (or adult) should NEVER place a shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm!

 

We hope that these tips will help you and your children travel safely this summer and every day after. Remember, for any questions on car seats (including selecting a car seat, car seat recall information, etc) or seat belt questions, please contact 1-800-CAR-BELT or visit www.pakidstravelsafe.org.

 

 

 

Information taken from the Traffic Injury Prevention Project. No copyright infringement intended.

12 Comments

  1. Avatar for trylife

    Don

    Hi there colleagues, its enormous article regarding educationand
    completely explained, keep it up all the time.

  2. Avatar for trylife

    Morgan

    Interesting! I had absolutely no idea that children should remain in booster seats until 8 years old. I’ll be sure to pass this along to all of my mommy friends. Thanks!

  3. Avatar for trylife

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    Lorraine

    Be considerate of travel timing and when possible do travel time during sleeping hours.

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