Preventing injuries to children in motor vehicle crashes
Unintentional injuries are one of the leading causes of death among children. Most of these injuries are preventable. At Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, we are committed to keeping children safe. Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, is the Proud Lead Organization for the Miami-Dade County SAFE KIDS Coalition.
The Miami-Dade County SAFE KIDS Coalition is comprised of public, private and voluntary organizations united and committed to identify and significantly reduce unintentional deaths and injuries to the children of South Florida. We respond to the needs of our community by providing professional education, practical training programs, and legislative initiatives essential to promote the safety and well being of our children.
PREVENTING INJURIES TO CHILDREN IN MOTOR VEHICLE CRASHES
All children ages 12 and under should be properly restrained in a back seat on every ride.
Choose and use correctly the right restraint for your child.
- Infants should ride in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, until they are at least 12 months old and weigh at least 20 pounds. Keep children rear-facing to 30-35 pounds if your car seat allows it.
- Children who are at least 1 year old, weigh 20 to 40 pounds and can no longer ride rear-facing should ride in forward-facing car seats secured with harnesses.
- Children more than 40 pounds should be correctly secured in belt-positioning booster seats or other appropriate child restraints until the adult lap and shoulder belts fit correctly (usually around age 8 and when the child is about 4'9" tall).
Any car seat must be installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and vehicle owner’s manual.
- Check www.recalls.gov for car seat recalls.
- Return the product registration forms for all new car seats to the manufacturer to ensure you will be notified of any recalls.
- Only use a seat with all parts, instructions and labels.
- Check www.nhtsa.dot.gov to see if a car seat that has been in a crash passes NHTSA's test for continued use.
Obey all traffic laws, including those for child restraint use.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child occupant protection laws, which vary widely in their age requirements, exemptions, enforcement procedures and penalties. Many states have improved their laws to require some older children to ride in booster seats, and some require children of certain ages to ride in the rear seat of a motor vehicle. Check www.safekids.org
to find out about the laws currently in effect for your state.
As of March 2011, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated recommendations on car seats to help parents decide when to make seat transitions, advising that children should ride rear-facing to age 2 and use a booster until at least age 8. As quoted on www.healthychildren.org
: "Smaller children will benefit from remaining rear-facing longer, while other chilren may reach the maximum height or weight before 2 years of age."
For more information about SAFE KIDS or for additional age specific safety tips, log on to: http://www.safekids.org . The Miami Dade County SafeKids Coordinator at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, can be reached at 305-663-6800.