Posts for category: Child Safety
Kids may complain about being restrained in the car, but car seats and booster seats save lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that using a car or booster seat in a passenger car reduces the risk of fatal injury 71 percent in children younger than 1 and 54 percent in toddlers ages 1 to 4. The statistics are just as impressive for older kids.
What type of seat should I use for my child?
Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height recommended by the manufacturer. In the past, children were routinely removed from rear-facing seats when they were 2, even if they didn't meet height or weight limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their guidelines and now recommend that kids remain in the seats as long as possible.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers who have reached the maximum height or weight limits for rear-facing seats should use forward-facing car seats. Again, the seats should be used until the child reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations.
Once kids are too tall or heavy for car seats, they will transition to booster seats. Booster seats should be used until children are 4'9" tall and 8 to 12 years old. Older children can begin using seat belts at that point but should sit in the back seat when possible, particularly if they're younger than 13.
How can I tell if the car seat is installed correctly?
Both car and booster seats should be securely fashioned with a latch system or seat belt. If the seat moves back and forth freely, it's not installed correctly. Properly installed seats should move no more than an inch in any direction.
My child's legs seem too long for the car seat. What should I do?
You may wonder if your child should move up to the next seat or a booster seat if your child's feet touch the back of car seat. As long as your child is shorter than the maximum height for the seat, he or she should remain in the current seat.
Should my child use a secondhand car seat?
Passing a seat down to your next child can be a good idea if your children are only a few years apart in age. Before you reuse a seat for a younger child, make sure that it hasn't expired or been recalled since you bought it. Throw away car and booster seats after accidents, even minor ones. The seat may look perfectly fine but may be damaged internally.
Buying secondhand car seats online or at yard sales should be avoided. You won't necessarily know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has defective latches or restraints.
Using car seats consistently, whether you're going to the grocery store or taking a cross-country trip, can help your child avoid serious injuries due to traffic accidents. Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have questions about the seats.
- You or your child hears a snap or grinding noise as the injury occurs
- Your child experiences swelling, bruising or tenderness to the injured area
- It is painful for your child to move it, touch it or press on it
- The injured part looks deformed
What Happens Next?
- Call 911 - If your child has an 'open break' where the bone has punctured the skin, if they are unresponsive, if there is bleeding or if there have been any injuries to the spine, neck or head, call 911. Remember, better safe than sorry! If you do call 911, do not let the child eat or drink anything, as surgery may be required.
- Stop the Bleeding - Use a sterile bandage or cloth and compression to stop or slow any bleeding.
- Apply Ice - Particularly if the broken bone has remained under the skin, treat the swelling and pain with ice wrapped in a towel. As usual, remember to never place ice directly on the skin.
- Don't Move the Bone - It may be tempting to try to set the bone yourself to put your child out of pain, particularly if the bone has broken through the skin, do not do this! You risk injuring your child further. Leave the bone in the position it is in.
- All infants should be put down for sleep on their back to reduce the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Avoid soft bedding that might suffocate your baby, such as pillows, blankets, plush toys, and bumpers.
- Crib slats should be 2 3/8 inches apart or less so that your baby’s head cannot get trapped.
- Keep your baby’s room at a moderate temperature and dress them in a way that will prevent them from overheating to also reduce the risk for SIDS.
- Share a bedroom with your newborn—but not a bed.
- Avoid devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS, such as sleep positioners.
Nursing your baby and making sure that your baby gets all of the recommended vaccines can help protect against SIDS. Your pediatrician is available to provide you with the right information to protect your baby and keep him or her healthy and that includes proper care while they are sleeping.
When your little one turns into baby-on-the-go, it's time to start baby proofing your home. While you cannot create an environment that is 100% safe, you can take the best measures to protect your baby with help from your pediatrician. Here's everything you need to know about locking down the dangers that lurk behind your cupboards and more.
In your bathroom, start by turning down the water temperature on the water heater. When you put your baby in the bath, it is easiest to avoid any burning problem by keeping the temperature lower. Also, consider purchasing and installing toilet lid locks to protect your baby, as well.
With your windows, install window guards or adjust windows so they cannot open more than six inches. Be sure to tie up cords to blinds, as well, so that your child does not get tangled up in them. When finding an appropriate placement for your child’s crib, playpen, highchair or bed, place them away from blind cords. Your pediatrician also recommends placing furniture away from windows so that your child does not climb near a window.
While the fireplace is excellent in the winter, it is important to take extra precautions to protect your baby from harm. Purchase a fireplace hearth cover because once kids learn to walk and crawl, they run a risk of falling into a fireplace. Ready-made, or even homemade cushiony devices that go around the hearth will also help to keep your child out of harm’s way.
If you have any stairways in your home, install gates once your child begins to crawl. Place the gates at the bottom of stairways to prevent them from getting up the stairs, and if you are worried about them getting out of the bedroom, place a gate on the doorway to their room. Your pediatrician, also warns against placing a gate at the top of the steps because some babies can climb up a gate and fall from an even higher height.
Talk to your pediatrician for more tips on how to properly baby-proof your home.