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Child Safety Seats

Car accidents account for a large percentage of injuries and death involving infants and children. The use of a child safety seat can greatly reduce the risk of injury while travelling, whether it is by car or by other means. There are several types of car seats developed for children. Each type is built for a specific age and weight. Parents are advised to check and make sure that they are choosing the right type of safety seat for their infant or toddler. Proper installation will enable full use of the seat’s features.

  • Overview on Car Seats: The University of Maryland Medical Center features a website with general information about safety seats.
  • On The Go: This website under the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated information on safety seats and other types of restraints for travelling with older children. There is also additional information on what a LATCH is and how to use the system.
  • Child Passenger Safety: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention details the maximum age and weight at which the infant or child should be using a specific type of safety seat, booster, or seat belt.
  • Safe Kids USA: The website features comprehensive information on child safety seats, sorted according to the type of reader: for parents, educators, members of the media and safety professionals. 
  • Auto Safety: The website of this nonprofit organization includes a variety of information on child safety seats for parents, kids, and teens.
  • Child Safety Seat Info from Medline Plus: The National Institute of Health has information on the factors that parents need to consider when purchasing child safety seats.
  • Guidelines on Used Child Safety Seats: The Agri Life Extension under Texas A&M has a list of conditions to consider when purchasing used child safety seats.
  • Facts on the Risk of Child Passengers: NetWellness, a nonprofit website created by faculty members from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University has a webpage devoted on the importance of correct installation of car seats. It features a series of images which graphically illustrates the effects between the correct and incorrect way of restraining a child when an accident occurs.
  • Child Restraint on Automobiles: Members from Colorado State University have created a webpage dedicated to presenting tips and suggestions to parents on how to handle kids during car trips to ensure their safety. 
  • All About Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH): The website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains what the LATCH system is and how to use it.
  • Child Safety on Airplanes: This website created by the Federal Aviation Administration features information on available safety seats on airplanes that are provided by airline companies.
  • Airplanes and Car Seats: This news report by SafeKids Kansas recommends that parents bring their own child safety seats to keep infants safe while flying.

Infants and children with special needs require greater care in being restrained for safe travel. A number of companies are producing safety seats designed specifically for their needs. When it comes to premature babies, studies indicate that it is safer to use a car bed instead of a safety seat. In the case of children with cerebral palsy, additional support is needed around the head, neck and torso. Obese children pose a different challenge. With the increasing amount of children becoming obese every year, a number of groups are pushing for the development of seats that can accommodate children that are taller and heavier for their age.

  • Safety Seats for Children with Special Needs: The University of Maryland has a PDF file on the types of safety seats available for use on children with special needs.
  • Special Travel Needs: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recommends using car beds instead of safety seats when transporting premature babies.
  • Special Needs Transportation: Riley Hospital’s Automotive Safety Program features considerations for safely transporting kids with special needs such as wearing a cast, behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, tracheostomy or low weight.
  • Travelling with Obese Children: The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a list of suggestions and reminders on how to travel and safely restrain a heavier or obese child.

The use of a safety or booster seat is required in all areas of the United States but there is still some confusion on how to use these types of restraints. A large percentage of users have misconceptions on how to install and use child safety seats. Schools, government agencies and nonprofit organizations are attempting to correct these misconceptions by establishing different programs. Resources vary depending on the target market including fact sheets, instructional videos and manuals for parents and teachers, while posters, coloring books, cartoons and use of toys are used for teaching children. Government agencies and car manufacturers have also hired certified safety seat inspectors which can help instruct parents and teachers on the correct way of installing and using safety seats.

  • Child Seat Safety Resources: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a comprehensive website which includes news and studies relating to car seats and child passenger safety
  • Car Seat Safety Educational Materials: The Washington State Booster Seat Coalition includes a variety of teaching materials including videos, fact sheets, posters, flyers, coloring books and other types of resources to help children and adults learn more about booster seats.
  • Program to Reduce Misinformation and Incorrect Use of Safety Seats: A resource for teachers and parents on existing programs which aim to reduce misinformation and misuse of child safety seats
  • Issues Regarding Child Safety Seats: The study published by Berkeley University shows why children from certain groups are more likely to die from a vehicular accident and recommendations on what needs to be changed.
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: A nonprofit organization which has comprehensive information, diagrams and charts on the different safety laws and regulations in effect for each state in the United States.
  • Booster Seat Safety Program: The University of Michigan has a specific program which includes information and toys to help parents and children understand the importance of using safety seats.
  • Checking Recalled Child Safety Seats: SafetyBeltSafe USA has a comprehensive website on child safety seats which includes different types of resources to help teachers and technicians educate parents and children about car seat safety. The organization also allows parents to email them regarding any recalled safety seats.
  • List of Recalled Safety Seats: SaferCar.gov features a comprehensive and updated list of all recalled models of safety seats beginning April 2001.
  • Replacing Child Safety Seats: The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh features information on installing child safety seats and how to replace them on the event of a crash or if the model has been recalled.
  • How to Find Child Safety Seat Fitting Stations: The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) Seat Check Program includes a list of safety seat inspection sites in the United States where trained inspectors can help teach the basics of car seat safety.
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