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Taking Your Baby Home
by Robert M. Selig, M.D., FAAP & Joann C. Cozza, D.O., FAAP

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29: What Can I Do To Protect My Child?

Infants and young children always should ride in car safety seats. Your child’s car seat should only be placed in the back seat. A car seat will hold your child securely in the car and help absorb the forces of violent crashes. Children less than 13 years old should sit in a booster seat (up to 80 pounds) or a seat belt with a properly positioned shoulder strap. This will prevent injury from front seat air bags in the event of a crash.


30: Is My Baby Safe Being Held Tightly In My Arms?

NO. When traveling in a car, your arms are the most dangerous place for your baby. This is called the "child crusher position." In a low speed 30 mph crash, even a tiny 10 lb. infant would be ripped from your arms with a force of almost 300 lbs. That is like falling from a 3-story building. If you are not using your seat belt, your child would be crushed between your body and the windshield and dash.


31: How Can I Best Protect My Infant?

Beginning with that first ride home from the hospital, all infants should ride in a semi-reclined, backward facing car safety seat. It must be anchored in the vehicle with a seat belt, and the harness must be fastened. "Car beds" and flimsy household infant carriers are not designed to protect an infant in a car.

If your car is equipped with a shoulder harness (moveable), then you must buy a locking clip. This special locking clip prevents the seat belt from moving.


32: What Does A Toddler Or Pre Schooler Need?

Children who can sit up alone and weigh up to 40 pounds, should be buckled into a forward facing car safety seat. Read the instructions included with the car seat to help you properly set up the car seat. If you have any questions, call 1-800-CARBELT (227-2358).


33: What If My Child Must Ride In A Car Without A Safety Seat?

If a car seat is not available for your toddler, the regular car seat should be used. This is safer than riding unrestrained. The seat belt must be snug over the hip and thigh bone . . . not over the belly.


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