Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pregnant? Your seat belt is your baby's first car seat! Make sure you know how to wear it right!

The RED belt shows how NOT to wear it.  The GREEN belt shows the proper way - with the lap belt low and flat on the tops of the thighs so that the belt rests on the strong hip bones and not on the baby or your belly.  ALWAYS wear the shoulder belt (i.e. don't put it under your arm or behind your back) - as the shoulder belt protects your chest and head in a crash.  Without the shoulder belt across your chest, your body would double over itself in a crash, crushing the baby.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tips for Taxis & Travel: Car Seats, Boosters & Vests that are SAFE & CONVENIENT

 ** For a printer-friendly version of this tip sheet, click here**

In NYC in 2000 (the most recent year for which data are available) 2,600 children were injured in 17,000 taxi-related accidents.  Studies show that NYC taxi passengers are 2.5 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed than the passengers in the other vehicle involved in the crash. 

Accidents happen - but you can prevent injuries.  Have NO REGRETS; protect your children. Make sure that quick taxi ride to school or a playdate doesn't send your child to the hospital. 

  • Keep kids rear-facing as long as possible - it's 5 times safer than forward-facing - even for 3-year-olds!
  • Keep kids in a 5-point harness car seat as long as possible
  • Use a booster until the child passes the 5-step test
  • Let anyone ride UNrestrained.  A seat belt is ALWAYS better than nothing.
  • Buckle two people in one belt.  Things in a crash weigh their weight times the speed of a crash.  An adult will weigh several thousand pounds, crushing a child sitting on their lap or carried on their chest.
  • Put the shoulder belt behind the child's back or under the arm.This removes all head & chest protection
  • Forget your own seat belt.  Restrained passengers are 4 times more likely to die if one person in the car is not restrained, as the unrestrained person becomes a human missile.
INFANT SEATS (with weight limits of 30-35 pounds)
All will fit onto at least one stroller, with the Graco/Teutonia & Chicco fitting onto the widest variety of strollers. Please see this car seat/stroller compatibility chart for details on strollers for the Britax/Graco/Chicco/Peg Perego seats.
  • Combi Coccoro 
    • Rear-facing 5-33 lbs, forward to 40 lbs. 
    • Lightweight (11 lbs)
    • Fits on the Combi Coccoro Flash stroller frame
  • Sit N' Stroll 
    • Rear-facing 5-30 lbs, forward to 40 lbs 
    • Has stroller wheels built in. 
    • **Sit N' Stroll will not install securely rear-facing or forward-facing in many cars.**
  • Safety 1st Go Hybrid (formerly the Safeguard Go)
    • 5-point harness for kids up to 60 lbs (booster to 100 lbs)
    • Needs the top tether (when using 5-point harness)
    • Lightweight (9 lbs) & comes in a travel bag.
CONVERTIBLE SEATS (see above rear-facing section, as these seats go both rear & forward facing)

4-8 year olds are 59% safer in boosters than with just a seat belt. Boosters keep the seat belt on the strongest parts of the body (hip bones and collar bone) - and best of all require no installation. Here are a few backless boosters & one vest that all weigh less than 5 pounds (making them easy to take in a taxi).
  • Safe Traffic System Ride Safer Travel Vest (1.4 lbs) 
    • This vest functions like a booster seat to keep the vehicle's seat belt properly positioned on the child's body & is so compact it will fit in a small purse

American Academy of Pediatrics Says Rear-facing Until Age 2 (at least)

    Evidence-Based Recommendations from 
Dr. Alisa Baer - Pediatrician & The Car Seat Lady

** For an easy-to-print version of this tip sheet, click here**

Accidents happen - but you can prevent injuries. Car crashes are the #1 cause of preventable death & injury to children in the US. Give your child the BEST protection possible - so in case of a crash you'll have no regrets.

I want to share with you new information and research published in the last several years that strongly recommends keeping kids rear-facing as long as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has for many years now recommended keeping kids rear-facing until they are too big for their convertible seat, and new research published both in American and international medical journals fully supports this. Convertible seats are ones that start rear-facing and then convert to forward-facing for older kids; kids typically start using a convertible seat after out-growing the infant seat. 

A 2007 article in the journal Injury Prevention showed that 2 year-olds were FIVE TIMES SAFER riding rear-facing than 2 year-olds riding forward facing.1 A 2008 article in the journal of the AAP urged pediatricians to "implement what we know to be best practice: children should ride in a rear-facing seat to the highest weight or height allowed for use rear-facing by the manufacturer of the seat."2 The AAP further reinforced this message, publishing "New advice: Rear-facing car seats safer for children until they are 2" and a handout for pediatricians to give to their patients entitled "Keep your toddler in a rear-facing car seat until at least age 2 (not 1)".3 In June 2009 the British Medical Journal (a highly regarded peer-reviewed journal) published an article entitled "Advise use of rear facing child car seats for children under 4 years old."4 The push to keep pre-schoolers rear-facing is now a worldwide movement. The Swedes, who for more than 35 years have kept kids rear-facing until 4 years of age with extremely low death and injury rates as a result, are probably wondering what took the rest of the world so long to catch on.

As kids get older, their feet will touch the back of the vehicle seat; this is safe & comfortable. Ever watched a 4-year-old sleep with his chin on his chest? They never wake up complaining of a stiff neck! Kids' joints aren't fully formed, which lets them sit comfortably in positions that would be painful for even a limber adult. For this reason, a 3 year old can sit comfortably rear-facing with her legs crossed or in the "frog leg" position. Other parents worry about leg injuries; studies5 show that forward-facing children suffer far more leg injuries than rear-facing kids.

Rear-facing does not have to be boring! Older kids can ride quite upright so they can see out the side and rear windows. If there is a head rest blocking your child's view out the back window, you can usually remove it. By 9-12 months your baby knows you're there when you talk to them from the front - even though they can't see you. Therefore, you can calm and entertain your child with songs, stories - and for older children games of "I spy" - all while they are rear-facing. Concerned about car sickness? Volvo looked at several thousand pre-schoolers and found the same rates of motion sickness in those riding rear-facing as those riding forward-facing. Regardless of the direction your child rides, placing
them in the center seat with an unobstructed view out the front/back window will help keep the nausea away.

In the face of growing evidence that rear-facing is by far the safest way to travel, it is my recommendation as a pediatrician and nationally certified child passenger safety instructor that children ride rear-facing until at least 2 years of age - and ideally longer, until reaching the maximum height or weight for rear-facing in their convertible car seat, which for most kids is around 2-4 years of age. The weight limit for rear-facing is 35-40 pounds for most convertible seats, with a few seats going as high as 45 pounds. The height limit for rear-facing is that the child's head must be 1 inch below the top of the car seat.

Alisa Baer, MD  (last updated 03/11)

1. Henary B, et al. Car Safety Seats for Children: Rear Facing for Best Protection. Injury Prevention. 2007; 13 (6): 398-402.
2. Bull M, Durbin D. Rear-Facing Car Safety Seats: Getting the Message Right. Pediatrics. 2008; 121 (3): 619-20.
3. O'Keefe L. New Advice: Rear-facing Car Seats Safer for Children Until they are 2. AAP News. 2009; 30 (4): 12.
4. Watson E, Monteiro M. Advise Use of Rear Facing Child Car Seats for Children Under 4 Years Old. BMJ. 2009; 338: b1994.
5. Arbogast KB, et al. Injuries to Children in Forward Facing Child Restraints. Annu Proc Assoc Adv Automot Med. 2002; 46: 213-30.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Seat Alert: Britax Announces the Frontier 85

Britax Announces new Frontier 85


See the video here

CHARLOTTE, N.C., February 22, 2010 — Britax is introducing a new combination booster seat that offers the highest harnessed weight and height capacity in the industry. The Frontier® 85 Combination Harness-2-BoosterTM with True Side Impact Protection® allows children to remain in a five-point harness up to 85 pounds with a seated shoulder height of up to 20 inches. As a belt-positioning booster, the seat can accommodate children up to 120 pounds and 65 inches tall.

Designed to keep children in a five-point harness for as long as possible, the Frontier 85 helps safely graduate children who are at least 2 years old and weigh at least 25 pounds from their convertible car seats. The True Side Impact Protection technology on the Frontier 85 includes deeper side walls, and works to distribute crash forces, shield from vehicle intrusion, contain the head and body, and keep the head, neck and spine aligned. This is important because one in four of all motor vehicle crashes that involve children occur from the side, and these crashes result in a significantly higher injury rate than front or rear crashes.

“We know that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics promote keeping children harnessed for as long as possible,” said Sebastiaan Selders, product manager at Britax. “We designed the Frontier 85 to not only help children remain in a five-point harness longer and provide greater side impact protection, but to also offer superior ease-of-use and installation features. This is critical because when a seat is used correctly it provides optimal protection for the child.”

In order to accommodate the higher height limit and provide a secure fit, the Frontier 85 offers a total of 10 harness positions and three buckle strap positions. The harness also has a cobble weave design with sewn buckle stops to help prevent the harness from twisting and sliding out of place.

The Frontier 85 includes a number of parent-favorite features. These include: a quick-adjust head restraint, no-rethread harness, color-coded vehicle belt guides, Versa-Tether®, Harness Ultra Guard System (HUGS™) and premium LATCH connectors. The seat also offers big, comfortable armrests, dual cup holders, and a durable, washable cover.

When used as a belt-positioning booster the Frontier 85 is compatible with the new Britax SecureGuard Belt Positioning Accessory Clip. The SecureGuard, which is sold separately, works with the vehicle safety belt to prevent the child from sliding under the lap-belt portion of the safety belt during impact, reducing the risk of abdominal injury.

The Frontier 85 comes in four fashions and will be available at independent and mass retailers in late March 2010. The suggested retail price is $279.99.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Welcome to The Car Seat Lady's blog - your source for the most up-to-date, evidence-based information to keep your most precious cargo safe on every car ride.