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Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Francis joins national effort to promote proper use of kids' safety seats

INDIANAPOLIS – Three out of four child safety seats are installed improperly in vehicles, according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That’s why St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is urging all parents and caregivers to attend the National Seat Check Saturday on Saturday, Sept. 20. As part of National Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 21 to 27), Safe Kids Indiana and Babies R Us are collaborating to offer free child safety seat inspections that day.

St. Francis child safety seat specialists will provide free inspections at Babies R Us, 8800 U.S. 31 South in Indianapolis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It’s the responsibility of every parent and caregiver to make sure their children are safely restrained – every trip, every time,” said Dorry Ante, certified child safety seat technician at St. Francis. “We are urging everyone to get their child safety seats inspected. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes.”

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, 8,325 children younger than age 5 have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years. Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8; after age 8, seat belts provide the best protection.

For maximum child passenger safety, Ante said parents and caregivers should refer to the 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:

1. For the best possible protection, keep infants in the back seat in rear-facing child safety seats as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat.
2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds), they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats in the back seat until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat.
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats in the back seat until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest.
4. When children outgrow their booster seats (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall and 80 pounds), they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat if they fit properly.

For more information about child safety seats or to schedule a personal child safety seat inspection at St. Francis, call 317-865-5774 in Indianapolis or 317-834-5817 in Mooresville.