Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in young children. We all know child safety seats significantly reduce the risk of death or injury in the event of a crash.
As a pediatrician, I am often asked by well-meaning parents whether simply having a car seat is enough to protect their children. The proper use of an age-appropriate car seat is necessary to achieve the safest outcome.
It is important that your car-seat installation is correct and to transition to another type of seat as children grow.
Chest harness clips should be positioned over the chest, not the abdomen. There should be no more than an inch of movement of the car seat in any direction. The harness must be tightly buckled and come from the correct slot per the manual, with no slack in the straps. Finally, seat belts must be in the correct placement over the lap and shoulder.
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Your child will follow your lead. To best protect your child and yourself, everyone buckle up before you drive.
Ashika Odhav, M.D. of Kansas City is a 2013 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Her hometown is Jackson, Tenn. She is in her second year of residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital.