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how to Protect your Children

how to Protect your Children

Parents should learn to protect their children. People expose children, many times every day, to the risk of death and injury by not restraining them properly in moving vehicles.

Neither the distance to be traveled nor the age and size of the traveler changes the need, for everyone, to use safety restraints. The principles of occupant restraint apply to all motor vehicles in every country in the motorized world. The proper use of the safety restraint systems, provided by the vehicle manufacturer, and a portable child restraint system, purchased by the vehicle owner, enhances the protection of small travelers in a crash.

If all adults and older children in the world wore the safety belts properly that are provided in the vehicles, thousands of highway fatalities would be prevented and many more thousands of injuries would be less serious every year.

Each year hundreds of children under the age of five are killed while riding in motor vehicles. In addition, hospital emergency rooms care for thousands more who are injured in crashes. With the proper use of child restraints, injuries to young children could be reduced dramatically, and more than one-half the deaths could be prevented. 

What Kinds of safety restraints systems are there?
Vehicle manufacturers provide several kinds of safety restraint systems. The adult safety belt systems have lap-only and lap-shoulder safety belts. Manufacturers also provide another safety restraint system, the air bag system. Since the air bag is only a supplemental restraint, it works with safety belts but does not replace them. In addition, the vehicle may have a built-in, forward-facing child restraint. Another safety restraint system is the portable child restraint system, purchased by the vehicle owner. Be sure that child restraints are designed for use in a vehicle. If they are, the restraints will have labels saying that they meet motor vehicle safety standards.

Although there are a wide variety of child restraints available, there are only four basic types: the infant car bed, the rear-facing infant seat, the forward-facing child seat, and the booster seat. The convertible child restraint can serve as either a rear-facing infant seat or a forward-facing child seat.

When do infants and young children need to use child restraints?
Every time infants and young children ride in vehicles, they should have the protection provided by appropriate restraints. People need to understand how necessary it is to use safety belts and child restraints. Every day adults place children at considerable risk by allowing riding in a vehicle when they are not properly restrained. Kneeling or standing on a seat, climbing around, sleeping unrestrained, riding in the bed of a pickup truck-all are activities, if there is a collision, that expose children to the risk of sudden injury or death. Even a child held or sitting in an adult’s lap is placed at great risk of injury.

Young children, who cannot make correct decisions for themselves, depend upon others to protect them. Many countries have laws saying another reason to restrain children properly, on every trip, is the vehicle’s frontal air bags. They have to inflate very quickly, faster than a person can blink an eye, and with great force. Air bags are designed to restrain adults. Serious injury, and even death, can result for anyone – especially a child – who is up against, or close to, a frontal air bag when it inflates.

What are the different types of add-on child restraints?

Add-on child restraints, which are purchased by the vehicle’s owner, are available in four basic types. Selection of a particular restraint should take into consideration the child’s weight, height, and age but also whether or not the restraint will be compatible with the motor vehicle in which it will be used. An infant car bed, a special bed made for use in a motor vehicle, is an infant restraint system designed to restrain or position an infant on a continuous flat surface. Make sure that the infant’s head rests toward the center of the vehicle.
A rear-facing infant seat is a child restraint system that positions an infant to face in the direction opposite to the normal direction of travel of the motor vehicle. Rear-facing seats are designed for infants of up to about 9 kg, 48 cm to 66 cm in height, and up to least one year of age. It is necessary that this restraint face the rear, so the infant’s head, neck, and body can have the support they would need in a crash. Some infant seats come in two parts. The base stays secured in the vehicle, and the seat snaps in and out. A forward-facing child seat is a child restraint system that positions a child upright to face in the normal direction of travel of the motor vehicle. These forward-facing seats are designed to protect children who are from 9 kg to 18 kg and about 66 cm to 102 cm in height, or up to around four years of age. A convertible child seat is a restraint system designed for use either as a rear-facing infant seat or a forward-facing child seat. Some convertible seats are designed to be used rear-facing for infants who weigh more than 9 kg.

A booster seat is a child restraint designed for use by children who are about 18 to 27 kg (or more) and about 89 cm to 122 cm in height, about four to eight years of age. It is designed to improve the fit of the vehicle’s safety belt system. Some booster seats have a shoulder-belt positioner, and some high-back booster seats have a five-point harness. A booster seat also helps a child to see out the window. For most of the basic types of child restraints, there are many different models available. In addition, there are many kinds of restraints available for children with special needs.

Where in the vehicle should add-on child restraints be secured?
Placement of add-on child restraints is important. Children generally are safer if they ride in a rear seat; therefore, child restraints should be secured in a vehicle’s rear seat, including an infant or child riding in a rear-facing infant seat or a forward-facing child seat, and an older child riding in a booster seat.

A rear-facing infant seat should never be secured in front of an air bag. In a crash, the inflating air bag could strike the back of the restraint with such force that the infant could be injured seriously or even killed. If a forward-facing child seat must be secured in the vehicle’s right front seat, the seat should be moved back as far as possible. But it is better to secure the restraint in a rear seat.

How do child restraints work?
A child restraint system is any device designed for use in a motor vehicle to restrain seat, or position children. A built-in child restraint system is a permanent part of the motor vehicle. An add-on child restraint system is a portable one, which is purchased by the vehicle’s owner.

Today’s add-on child restraints use the adult belt system in the vehicle. To help reduce the chance of injury, the child also has to be secured within the restraint. The vehicle’s belt system secures the add-on child restraint in the vehicle, and the add-on child restraint’s harness system holds the child in place within the restraint.

A rear-facing infant seat provides restraint with the seating surface against the back of the infant. The harness system holds the infant in place and, in a crash, acts to keep the infant positioned in the restraint. When purchasing add-on child restraints, be sure they are designed for use in a motor vehicle. If they are, the restraints will have labels saying that hey meet motor vehicle safety standards.

When securing an add-on child restraint into the vehicle, refer to the instructions that come with the restraint, which may be on the restraint itself or in a booklet, or both, and to the vehicle owner’s manual.

The instructions that come with the child restraint, together with the vehicle owner’s manual, will explain how to secure the child into the restraint, using the restraint’s harness system and also, if needed, the vehicle’s belt system.

What is the proper way to use add-on child restraints?
There are two steps in this process. First, the add-on child restraint must be secured properly to the vehicle. If the restraint has a tether strap, the strap must be fastened to a special anchor on the vehicle. Second, the child must be secured properly within the restraint.  Within the basic types of add-on child restraints, there are several kinds available. They determine the proper way to use them.

Both the vehicle owner’s manual and the instructions that come with the child restraint contain specific information about securing the restraint to the vehicle. Each is important, so if either one of these is not available you should obtain a replacement copy from the manufacturer.

What adults should do?
Adults share the responsibility of take care of the children. Children need love and protection. Placing children in specially designed child restraints helps to give them the security and protection that they need. If you start using a restraint and always use it properly, the child is much likely to accept the restraint as the normal way to travel. Using child restraints consistently and correctly is the key.

Starting with the first ride home from the hospital, infants and young children need the special protection that only child restraints can provide. Selecting the proper child restraint helps to make a child safer and more comfortable. The more convenient the restraint is to use, the more likely it is to be used.

When selecting and purchasing an add-on child restraint

  •  Check your vehicle owner’s manual for any specific instructions or special equipment needed for proper installation of a child restraint.
  •  Before purchasing a child restraint, try the restraint out, if possible, to see whether or not it will fit properly in your vehicle.
  •  Since not all child restraints are the same, take the child along when shopping for a child restraint in order to try different models.
  •  Consider the child’s size when selecting the proper child restraint. Check the instructions that come with the restraint for weight and height limitations.
  •  An infant car bed should be used if the baby weighs less than about 2 ½ kg.
  •  Most newborn infants are too small for restraints with a T-shield harness or with a shelf-like shield.
  •  A booster seat with a shield is designed for use with a vehicle’s lap-only belt.
  •  A booster seat without a shield is designed for use only with a vehicle’s lap-shoulder belt.
  •  Child restraint buckles are stiff to keep children from undoing them, but some may be harder to work than others. Check the ease of latching buckles, straps, locks, and harnesses.
  •  Be sure the child restraint has a label saying that it meets motor vehicle safety standards.

When placing and installing an add-on child restraint in a motor vehicle
Installing a child restraint properly takes time and is of critical importance.
Refer to all the instructions that come with the child restraint, to the section in the vehicle owner’s manual on installation of child restraints and the vehicle.

Since a vehicle’s rear seat is the safest place for children, it is usually the best place to install a child restraint. In a vehicle with a passenger-side frontal air bag, never put a rear-facing infant seat in the vehicle’s front seat because this places the infant in danger of death or serious injury if the air bag inflates. Some vehicles, however, have a switch that lets you turn the air bag off. A child restraint must be used only on motor vehicle seats that face forward: do not place them on rear-facing vehicle seats. When using an infant car bed, place the infant’s head toward the center of the vehicle.
In order to secure a child restraint in some vehicles, you may need a locking clip or a special additional belt. Check the vehicle owner’s manual. Secure installation of a child restraint may be difficult in some deeply contoured vehicle seats, bucket seats, and raised-center rear seats. Be sure that vehicle’s safety belt system holds the child restraint securely in place. Check that a child restraint’s tether strap can be securely tightened when fastened to the vehicle’s tether anchor. Even when not occupied, a child restraint should remain firmly anchored in the vehicle, since an unsecured child restraint could injure someone in a sudden stop or crash.

When securing an infant or child into an add-on child restraint:

  •  The instructions provided by the child restraint manufacturer explain the proper way to secure an infant or child in that particular restraint.
  •  An infant’s or child’s back and buttocks should be flat against the back the restraint.
  •  Harness straps are adjusted in different ways for different child restraints, but they need to fit snugly.
  •  Harness straps must remain over the child’s shoulders. They should never be placed around or under the child’s arms.

When traveling with an infant or child

  •  Never buckle an adult and a child, or two children, in one safety belt.
  •  A young child must be secured in an appropriate child restraint; otherwise, the child should not make the journey.
  •  Never put the shoulder portion of a lap-shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm of the child.
  •  Never take an infant or child out of the child restraint while the vehicle is moving.
  •  In hot or sunny weather, travel with a blanket, or other covering, to throw over the restraint when it is not in use, and always check the fabric and metal buckles for heat before putting a child into the child restraint.
  •  In winter, try to warm up the vehicle and the child restraint before securing the child in the restraint, and dress the child in clothing with arms and legs that will not interfere with buckling the harness.
  •  Finally, never leave children unattended, even when sleeping, while they are in a child restraint.

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Child passenger safety facts and statistic in the United States of America are:

  •  On average each day, seven children age 14 and under are killed, and 908 more are injured, in traffic crashes.
  •  Six out of ten children who died in traffic crashes in 1997 were unrestrained.
  •  Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 69 percent for infants under one year and by 47 percent for toddlers age 1-4.
  •  From 1975 through 1997, an estimated 3,894 children's lives were saved by safety belts and child restraint systems. 5,992 children under the age of 21 were killed on our highways in 1997 alone.
  •  Children who ride in the back seat suffer a third fewer fatalities than those in the front seat. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  •  Rear-facing child safety seats should NEVER be placed in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger side air bag. The best way to protect children age 12 and under from risks posed by air bags is to place them in the back seat, properly restrained by the appropriate child safety seat or safety belt.
  •  Adult safety belt use is the best predictor of child occupant restraint use. A driver who is buckled up is three times more likely to restrain a child passenger than one who is not buckled. (Journal Pediatrics, Vol. 102, No. 3, September 1998)

What the judicial system should do?
The judicial system is an integral part of increasing seat belt and child safety seat use. The court system must support law enforcement officers who cite individuals for noncompliance of belt laws or who put their children at risk by not properly restraining them. As officers of the court, prosecutors and judges can send a firm message to the public that seat belt and child restraint laws are important.

Lebanon , Traffic Safety

Date: 4/16/2010 2:00:53 PM

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Traffic Safety