Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kids and car seats: Could they be unsafe?

I'm over at In the Parenthood right now, talking about car seat safety:

When I was a kid, my brothers and I used to ride unfettered in the "way back" of the family station wagon. We rarely used seatbelts back in the '70s, let alone cushy car seats with five-point harnesses and cup holders.

We've come a long way since then, thank goodness, and today's parents are quick to make sure that their kids are strapped in before they even start the car.

But the best car seats out there still aren't secure if aren't being used properly and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75 percent of car seats being used today are installed incorrectly. To help answer questions and demonstrate proper installation techniques, AAA and the Dorel Juvenile Group are hosting a car seat safety check in the Target parking lot at the South Bay Plaza in Dorchester (7 Allstate Road) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, July 23 (yes, that's tomorrow). If you can't make it to the event, you can still benefit from some of the tips Kimberlee Mitchell, National Child Safety Expert and Child Passenger Safety Technician, gave me to share with you.

A recent survey from Dorel Juvenile Group -- a major car seat manufacturer -- and AAA found that the majority of parents surveyed don't know up to what age their child should ride in a car seat or booster seat (they're required in Massachusetts until your child is 8 years old and at least 4 feet 9 inches tall), the best place to install them (always in the back seat, and rear-facing car seats should be placed in the center), or what type of car seat or booster is safest for their child.
Click on over to In the Parenthood to read the tips, or to find a car seat inspection station near you.

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