Misinformation on child safety seats in The Union
It is important to dispel the misinformation about child safety seats reported in “Crash witnesses: Baby poorly secured” (Sept. 24). It is stated in the article that, “according to state law, any child weighing more than 20 pounds must be placed in a forward-facing child seat.”
This is incorrect and really emphasizes the public confusion regarding proper child safety seat use and the law. In fact, babies must ride rear-facing until at least one year of age and over 20 pounds, according to “Buckle Up Baby.” Many convertible child safety seats can remain rear-facing until the child is 35 pounds.
It is important to follow the height, weight, and installation guidelines of each seat. A new law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2002, stating that children must properly use a safety seat or booster until they are at least six years old or weigh 60 pounds.
In a recent survey of Nevada County, approximately 65 percent of children were not properly restrained in child safety seats or booster seats. Many children were in the front seat with the shoulder belt across their neck and face, or behind them. Both these scenarios are extremely dangerous. The minimum age for a child to be in the front seat of a car is 12 years old, and if the child can not properly wear a seat belt, she should be using a booster seat in order to be safe in the car.
An improperly fitted seat belt is extremely dangerous! A child can be severely injured or thrown from the car. According to the NHTSA training manual, “ejected occupants are four times more likely to be killed.”
If parents are not sure about the correct installation of their child safety seat, they should read the instructions for the seat and their car, find a safety seat inspection, contact the California Highway Patrol (530) 273-4415 or the County of Nevada Car Seat Program (530) 470-2727. Also, more information is available on the Internet at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov or http://www.ots.ca.gov. There is nothing more important than keeping your child safe.
County of Nevada Car Seat Program Coordinator
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