Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Booster Seat and Seat Belts Safety for Big Kids On The Way

Regardless of age, all passengers need to be buckled in. Follow specific guidelines for your child’s height, age and weight to determine the best child safety restraint. For children ages 5 to 9, who are under 4 feet 9 inches tall and less than 80 to 100 pounds, a car seat or booster seat is a must for the best protection.

Top Booster Seat and Seat Belt Safety Tips
  • Use a car seat with a harness or booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder safety belts until your child passes the Safety Belt Fit Test.
  • Vehicle seat belts are designed to fit an average-sized adult. To get the best protection from a seat belt, children usually need a booster until they are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Many children will be between 8 and 12 years of age before they meet these height and weight requirements.  
  • Use a booster seat correctly in a back seat every time your child rides in a car.  
  • Older kids get weighed and measured less often than babies, so check your child’s growth a few times a year.
  • Be sure to correctly install your car seat or booster seat. Booster seats are not installed the same way car seats are. Booster seats sit on the vehicle seat and are used to properly position the adult seat belt for an older child.
  • A booster seat uses no harness. It uses the vehicle’s lap AND shoulder belts only. Be sure the seat belt is properly buckled.  
  • For children who are riding in booster seats, never place the shoulder belt under the child's arm or behind the child's back.  
  • Be sure all occupants wear safety belts correctly every time. Children learn from adult role models.  
  • Tell all drivers who transport your child that a car seat or booster seat use is a must when your child is in their vehicles.
  • Treat seat belts as you would any cord or rope. Do not allow children to play with them at any time.
  • When your child reaches 4 feet 9 inches and between 80 to 100 pounds, use the Safety Belt Fit Test to determine if the child is big enough to use the adult seat belt without a booster. Use the Safety Belt Fit Test on every child under 13.

 The Safety Belt Fit Test
Have your child sit in a back seat with his or her bottom and back against the vehicle’s seat back. Do the child’s knees bend at the seat’s edge?
  • If yes, go on.
  • If not, the child must stay in a booster seat.

 Buckle the seat belt. Does the lap belt stay low on the hips or high on the thigh?

  •  If yes, go on.
  • If it rests on the soft part of the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.

 Look at the shoulder belt. Does it lie on the collarbone and shoulder?
  • If yes, go on.
  • If it is on the face or neck, the child must remain in a booster seat.

Never put the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. Do not allow children to play with the shoulder portion of a seat belt. Treat it like any cord.

Can the child maintain the correct seating position with the shoulder belt on the shoulder and the lap belt low across the hips, or high on the thighs?

  • If yes, the child has passed the Safety Belt Fit Test.
  • If no, the child should return to a booster seat and re-test in a month

Magda Rodríguez

Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts
Baystate Children's Hospital
50 Maple Street
Springfield, MA 01103
Fax: 413-794-6510

New Statement on Booster Seat Use

Statement regarding booster seat ratings issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

It may be attributed to Torine Creppy, Executive Director of Safe Kids Worldwide

October 13, 2011
Injury risks are reduced by 59 percent for children using belt positioning booster seats as compared to seat belts alone. However, there is no "one size fits all" product available to fit children of various height, weight and age. Only a parent of caregiver can make that fit assessment for their child, in their car and in the booster seat.

Parents looking for help to fit their booster seats can find a certified child passenger safety technician to make sure their seat is properly installed.

For a proper booster seat fit, seat belts, once routed through the booster seat guides, should lay on the shoulder or collar bone. The lap belt should lie across the hips or upper thighs. The child should be able to maintain that proper belt fit for the duration of the trip. If the child is unable to do that, they should return to a child safety seat with a harness.

Safe Kids thanks the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for continuing to push the envelope of product design – but the crucial element for child safety remains for parents and caregivers to properly adjust the booster seat settings to fit their individual child.

Local Contact

Magda Rodríguez

Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts
Baystate Children's Hospital
50 Maple Street
Springfield, MA 01103
Fax: 413-794-6510

Media Contact

Katherine Collins
Public Relations Associate

Monday, October 17, 2011

October is Fire Prevention Month

October is Fire Prevention Month. In addition to supporting the the National Fire Protection Association’s National Fire Prevention Week theme “Protect Your Family from Fire,” Safe Kids is working to raise awareness on fire safety all month long.
On average, 436 children die in home fires every year. Working smoke alarms are an essential piece of safety equipment which should be in every home. If your family lives in a home with working smoke alarms the likelihood of dying in a fire is half that compared to a home without working alarms.

Use the tips below to learn how to keep your family safe from fire.

Top tips for smoke alarms

Put a smoke alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom.

Smoke alarms can be battery-operated or electrically hardwired in your home and are available at a variety of price points.

If you have hearing problems, use alarms with flashing strobe lights and vibration.

Test smoke alarms every month. Replace batteries once a year, even if alarms are hardwired.

Test your smoke alarms at night to see if your child will wake up and respond to the alarm. Children sleep more deeply and may not wake up. If your child does not wake up to the alarm, try an alarm where you can program your voice to alert him or her.

Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings since smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least 4 inches away from the nearest wall. Wall-mounted alarms should be installed 4 to 12 inches away from the ceiling.

Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years.

Consider installing both ionization alarms, which are better at sensing flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms, which are better at sensing slow, smoky fires, or dual sensor alarms.

Safe Trick or Treat Event Holyoke Fire Department.

Car Seat Checkup Event, October 24,2011

Care Seat Checkup Event, October 20th

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Product Recalls for September 2011

While all recalls are important, Safe Kids urges you to pay particular attention to the ones in red, as they are associated with one or more child deaths.

9/1/2011 – Wooden Rattle Recalled by Manhattan Group Due to Choking Hazard

9/2/2011 – LED Night Lights Recalled by Camsing Global Due to Burn Hazard

9/8/2011 – Dolls Recalled by Pottery Barn Kids Due To Strangulation Hazard

9/13/2011 – Weehoo Recalls Bike Trailers Due to Fall and Crash Hazards

9/20/2011 – American Woodcrafters Recalls to Repair Bunk Beds Due To Fall Hazard

9/28/2011 – Little Tikes Expands Recall of Toy Workshop and Tool Sets Due to Choking Hazard

9/29/2011 – Musical Wooden Table Toys Recalled by Battat Due to Choking Hazard

9/29/2011 – Shermag Recalls to Repair Drop-Side Cribs Due to Entrapment, Suffocation and Fall Hazards

Brighwood Kids Walk to School

Magda Rodriguez, co-coordinator, Western Mass. Safe Kids headquartered at Baystate Children’s Hospital, was interviewed by WWLP 22News yesterday as part of their coverage of “Walk To School Day.” ABC40 also covered the event.