Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Clearing up car seat misconceptions

A recent news headline broke my heart: “Toddler riding on mom’s lap killed by airbag after pickup hits utility pole near Dallas Love Field.” Reading this headline after recently having a discussion with my brother about his decision to turn my not quite one-year-old nephew forward-facing led me to Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Julie Smith R.N. to clear up some common car seat misconceptions. My questions are in bold, followed by Julie’s responses.

My brother just recently turned his 11-month-old son forward facing because “he weighs 22 lbs?” What is the current recommendation on when an infant or child can face forward in the car?
The latest recommendation is as follows: keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him safe and protects from head, neck and spine injuries. Keep the infant/child rear-facing to the maximum height or weight limits on the seat, which should be at least age 2. 

Are there any current Texas laws related to children in car seats?  Is it possible to get a ticket if my child is not in the proper car seat?
The laws in Texas, which became effective on 9-1-09, state that a child up to eight years old (unless taller than 4 feet 9 inches) must ride in a child safety seat. Officers can give a ticket for violating this law.

What about children in the front seat?  Does the child need to weigh a certain amount?
Children should stay in the back seat through age 12.  In other words, to maximize safety, you should be 13 years old to be in the front seat. 

I have a friend that is about to have a baby. As a shower gift, I was thinking of purchasing one of those mirrors so the Mom can see the baby while she is driving. Is that okay?

Any type of mirror or other item that is attached to the seat is not recommended. It is better for mom to watch the road while she is driving and if she has a concern about the baby she should pull off the road in a safe place to check on the baby.

Jessica Reading, MPH
Community Health Educator
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital

Julie Smith, RN
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital

No comments:

Post a Comment