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Child car seat hazards


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Potential hazards with child car seats

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Child car seat hazards

  1. 1. Child Car Seat HazardsManufacturers have quality controls to ensure seats are properly put together andpackaged. However, it is not guaranteed that the included instructions are always adheredto and correctly followed. Up to 95% of the safety seats that are installed may not be theright seat for the child, may be hooked into the vehicle loosely, may be hooked with anincompatible belt in the vehicle, may have harnesses incorrectly fastened in some way, ormay be incorrectly placed in front of air bags. In 1997, six out of ten children who werekilled in vehicle crashes were not correctly restrained.Along with the problem of instructions not being followed properly, there are otherhazards that can affect children involving these safety seats. A recent study attributedmany cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to the prolonged sitting or lyingposition these infants are in when putting the safety seats to use. When researchersreviewed more than 500 infant deaths, it was found that 17 of these deaths occurred whilethe infant was in a device such as a child safety seat. The age of the most occurring ratesof death by SIDS in a child safety device was found to be less than one month, having sixof the 17 deaths happen in this age group. Although SIDS has been found to be a highrisk regarding child safety seats, a coroner in Quebec also stated that “putting infants incar seats…causes breathing problems and should be discouraged." His warning cameafter the death of a two-month-old boy who was left to nap in a child safety seatpositioned inside his crib rather than the crib itself. The death was linked to positionalasphyxiation. This means that the child was in a position causing him to slowly lose hissupply of oxygen. The coroner said that it is common for a baby’s head to “slumpforward while in a car seat and that it diminishes oxygen”. It is recommended for driversto make frequent stops during trips to prevent an infant sitting in a slumped forwardposition for any length of time. Also, using a rear-facing seat for as long as possibleaccording to the manufacturer’s instructions can help prevent slumping since the baby’shead, which is naturally heavy, tends to lean backwards towards the direction of traveldue to inertia. These are just a small example of the many things that could possibly gowrong with any child safety seat. It is suggested that every parent look into the productthey are buying to gain knowledge of how they work and the ratings they have received.Some resources that can be used for this include The Latch Manual which demonstratesthe knowledge of installing different child restraints, newsletters such as “Safe RidersNews”, and fact sheets that can be printed offline as PDF files, etc.