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An expert from the IU School of Medicine offers car seat safety tips



Indianapolis, Indiana – Ensuring children are safe when driving is the goal of Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana University School of Medicine officials.

One of the main causes of mortality or severe injury among American children under the age of nine, according to some reports, is car accidents.

Parents are urged by the team to verify the expiration date of a car seat or booster seat. These are either engraved into the rear of the seat or on the side label.

The average lifespan of a car seat is six years. The materials in your car inevitably deteriorate after a period of use and repeated cycles of hot and cold temperatures.

According to Indiana law, kids must wear a restraint until they are eight years old. To decide which type is ideal for their child, parents should consider how the headrests, straps, and buckles fit, advises Dr. Marilyn Bull, a pediatrician at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

“We’ve changed tremendously over the past years and rear-facing longer is one thing that has been possible because of the construction of the seat,” Bull said.

Eighty-five percent of child seats are either improperly placed or do not fit the youngster they are meant to protect, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bull is an emeritus professor at the IU School of Medicine as well. She has been a pioneer in the field of child passenger safety for many years, having served on the boards of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

According to her, a child’s usage of a seat should vary depending on their height and weight.

“The law of physics is that a child should be restrained in a child restraint, a booster seat for older children until the seat belt fits,” Bull said.

To ensure that their child is still using the proper model, parents should regularly check the labels on their seats and be aware of their child’s weight.

“The way it was engineered by the manufacturer of the seat is extremely important to take the best benefit from the seat,” Bull said.

Additionally, it’s critical that kids are correctly fastened.

“A five-point harness to hold the child in the booster seat,” Bull said. “Why do race drivers have a four-point harness? Because it distributes the forces over more of the body over the bony structure.”

Children should wait until their hips and shoulders can fit snugly into a standard three-point seat belt before switching to one.

Bull says that one of the finest pieces of advice for parents is to make sure that everyone in the car is secure before leaving on a vacation.

“We know that children are more likely to be buckled up with their parents buckled up,” Bull said. “So “It’s important for every passenger in the car to wear their seatbelts for every ride … as a good example for their children.”

Bull says that purchasing a car seat at a garage sale is never a smart idea. Finding a used one from a dependable friend or relative, she adds, is OK as long as its complete history is known.

It is preferable to purchase seats in person, she continues. She advises parents to make sure a car seat is from a reliable brand and complies with government safety regulations if they have to purchase it online.

The Safety Store at Riley is owned by the IU School of Medicine and provides affordable prices on car seats in all sizes. Additionally, they manage the Automotive Safety Program, which provides additional materials and installation recommendations for car seats.












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