Safe Kids would like to express our gratitude to the Northeast Colorado Regional Emergency Trauma Advisory Council (NCRETAC) for a $10,000 funding award to support our car seat education and distribution program in Larimer County. This funding will allow us to continue our mission of educating parents how to properly travel with their children and provide car seats to families in financial need. We value the NCRETAC’s partnership in injury prevention. To learn more about what the NCRETAC does, check out their web site at www.ncretac.org.
Using a rear-facing car seat until a child is age two reduces risk of serious injury, but close to one-quarter of parents report they turned the seat around before their child was even one year old, according to a new University of Michigan study.
In March 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines for child passenger safety, extending the recommendation for rear-facing car seat use from one year of age and 20 pounds in weight to a minimum of two years of age or until a child has outgrown the weight/height limits of their rear-facing seat.
The U-M researchers asked parents about when they transitioned their child to a forward-facing seat in two national surveys – one in 2011, one month after the new guidelines were published and again in 2013.
The research was conducted as part of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
In 2011, 33% of parents of 1-to 4-year-old children who had been turned to face forward had done so at or before 12 months. Just 16% reported turning their child’s seat at 2 years or older.
But in 2013, 24% of parents of 1- to 4-year-old children who had been turned to face forward made the switch at or before 12 months. Only 23% reported waiting to turn until the child was 2 years old or older.
“So we’ve seen some improvement, with a higher proportion of parents reporting that they are waiting longer to make the switch to a forward-facing car seat. However, almost one-quarter of parents are turning their children before their first birthday,” says lead author Michelle L. Macy, M.D., M.S., of the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “And few parents report waiting until that second birthday to make the turn.”
“Getting parents to delay the transition to a forward-facing seat still represents an opportunity to improve passenger safety in the U.S.,” says Macy, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and a member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
Motor-vehicle collisions remain a leading cause of death among children younger than 4 years and the leading cause of death among older children in the United States, in part because child passengers continue to be unrestrained, and 20 percent of 1- to 3-year-olds and nearly half of 4- to 7-year-olds do not use the recommended restraint for their age.
This study is the first national assessment of the age at which parents report making the transition from rear-facing to forward-facing car seats.
“There are lots of reasons why parents are eager to change from the rear-facing to forward-facing seat: the perception their children are too large, the desire to see their children when driving, and a greater ease of removing their children from a forward facing seat,” says Macy, who also is a member of the U-M Injury Center. “But delaying the switch can make a big difference. In Sweden it is culturally accepted that children up to age 4 are in rear-facing seats and child traffic fatalities are among the lowest in the world.”
In the surveys, parents indicated car seat packaging and clinicians were the most common sources of information about when to start using a forward-facing car seat.
“We hope this research further encourages clinicians to spend time with their patients talking about the benefits of extending the use of a rear-facing car seat. It will be the kids that benefit, if their parents get the right information about how to use restraints and when to make transitions,” says Macy.
January 31 is National TV Safety Day…just ahead of the big game. Make sure your TV is secure and little ones can’t climb and accidentally tip it over. Stay safe while watching your favorite team play!
Consider Safe Kids this Holiday season when thinking about spreading good cheer. With your help we can save the life of a child (or children) by providing car seats to families who cannot afford them. Each family who attends our classes is asked for a donation to help support our efforts to keep kids safe. They understand the value in buckling their children up, learning how to properly use the car seat, and contributing toward the safety of their child by attending a 1-hour course. Many of our class participants are referred by friends, so we know the message is getting out there.
In 2013 we distributed over 500 car seats to families in need at a value of over $29,000. It is only possible to continue this program with your help! Donations are needed. Can you put a price on your child’s life? Consider donating today at https://pvhandmcr.thankyou4caring.org/ and selecting Safe Kids-Car Seats.
Thank you and happy holidays!
From the NFPA
Even though we’ve been unseasonably warm in northern Colorado, make sure you are ready for the Winter Freeze and upcoming holiday season. We’ve recently had two kitchen/cooking fires in Fort Collins that caused quite a bit of damage (but luckily no injuries). Below are three safety tip sheets put out by the National Fire Protection Association (nfpa.org). Go over them with your family to ensure everyone enjoys a safe holiday season.
Safe Kids Larimer County is led by UCHealth, which means they support us with staffing, computer, office, and phone support (among other things). Safe Kids is responsible for raising our own operating costs to be able to purchase car seats and bike helmets, provide training and technical resources, etc. Safe Kids is a part of the Community Health Improvement Department and partners with a number of other programs to keep our community healthy and safe. Check out the AMAZING work your local health system provides to our community, including Safe Kids Larimer County.
The holiday season is upon us and I’m sure you’re in the swing of shopping for the kids. Safe Kids would like to provide a few safety tips to keep in mind when buying toys.
Keep age and cognitive ability in mind. Just because a toy says it is for an 8+ doesn’t mean it is right for your child.
Consider other children in the house. Smaller toys (marbles, Mancala, Polly Pockets, etc.) are great for school-age children, but if there are young children around will it pose a choking hazard? Decide how to keep the toys and kids separated and how to supervise when they are being used.
Are you giving a gift with wheels? If so, remember the safety equipment…HELMET, HELMET, HELMET!!! Helmets expire after 3 years and if they are ever involved in a crash (where the head is hit), it needs to be thrown in the trash!
Buy toys that encourage your child to be active, not just video games and books (though those are fun gifts!) and participate with them by at least actively supervising. A ball, a jump rope, a frisbee, etc. can create many hours of fun for the entire family.