Family Time Family Time 7/6/15

Herald Journal Publishing, Inc. PO Box 129 Winsted, MN 55395 Family Time July 2015 Timely information for today’s busy local families Car seat safety How to keep kids safe every day, every time LIZ HACKENMUELLER Correspondent The number-one cause of death and injury to children is car crashes, according to Jean Johnson, McLeod County Health Promotion Coordinator. “The seat belt systems in cars are all intended to protect adult sized bodies,” Johnson said. “They can cause major problems for children under the age of 8.” Minnesota state law, passed in 2009, referred to as Brynn’s Law, requires that all children from birth to age 8 or 4 feet, 9 inches tall, be in a car seat or booster. Previously, the requirement was only up to age 4 years old. Brynn Duncan and her family were advocates for this legislation after Brynn was seriously injured in a car accident and left paralyzed from the waist down because she was riding with a seat belt and no booster seat, which was legal at that time since she was older than 4. “Since that law was passed, the number of children’s deaths has gone down dramatically,” Johnson said. However, just having children in a car seat does not guarantee they are properly protected. “Nine out of 10 car seats are not used correctly,” “There should be no more than 1 inch movement in the car seat, side to side or front to back,” Johnson said. Get The Job Done Right! • Whole House Remodels • New Construction Graph of the correct car seat to use by child’s age. SUBMITTED PHOTO Johnson also strongly recommends against the use of puff y winter coats in children, which prevent the straps from fitting snugly against their bodies. “You should not be able to pinch the strap, it should be snug against the child,” Johnson said. Because such a high percentage of car seats are used incorrectly, parents and caregivers can use local resources to have a certified child passenger safety technician check their car seat and provide important education. “It may be one little thing {they are doing incorrectly}, but it can increase safety and make a huge impact,” Johnson said. Both Wright County and McLeod County offer free car seat checks by appointment, and McLeod County also hosts monthly car seat clinics. During these car seat checks, technicians can also verify if there is a recall on the car seat and Commissioner support and funding from the Hutchinson area United Way, McLeod County is also able to offer free car seats to those Used car seat safety checklist If you are considering using a second-hand car seat, use the checklist below. If you can check off each one of these statements, then the second-hand seat may be OK to use. • The seat has never been involved in a moderate to severe crash. • The seat has labels stating date of manufacture and model number. You need this information to find out if there is a recall on the car seat or if the seat is too old. • The seat has no recalls. If you do find a recall on the car seat, you should contact the manufacturer as some problems can be fixed. • The seat has all its parts. If the seat is missing a part, contact the manufacturer as some parts can be ordered. • The seat has its instruction book. You can also order the instruction manual from the manufacturer. with PrimeWest Health Insurance. The same car seats are available for $20 for those who are income eligible, and $50 for those who are not. All car seats are certified federally. There are three types of car seat choices: rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, and booster seat. Common mistakes that are made when using a car seat include having the harness in the wrong spot for the size of the child, failing to use the tether for forward facing seats, and not having either the car seat or the straps fit tight enough, according to Hylla and Johnson. Look inside for this week’s Classifieds and Going Out section. • Complete Plumbing Services Finding the right car seat said Jill Hylla, Wright County Health Promotion Coordinator. PRESORT STANDARD ECRWSS U. S. POSTAGE PAID Herald Journal Publishing Inc. Postal Customer explain the type of seat belt system in the car, along with selecting the best spot in the car for the seat. Wright County also offers training, helping children with special needs who may need a special type of seat. For example, a child who has Down Syndrom, Autism, or Cerebral Palsy. “The family might not know some of their options, but I can help them with that,” Hylla said. (See the sidebar for more information.) Due to McLeod County “We get asked all the time what the best car seat is – it’s one that fits the child, fits the vehicle, and will be used correctly every time,” Hylla said. It is recommended to keep children in their current level of car seat until they outgrow the height and weight maximums, according to www.safercar.gov. For example, children who are 1 year old may be placed in a forwardfacing seat, but it is safer for them to remain in the rear facing seat until they meet the maximum height and weight requirements, which may not be until they are 2 or 3 years old. “Sometimes, parents have misheard from their medical provider that their child can be forward-facing when they are 25 pounds,” Johnson said. “Babies have heavy heads, so if you slam on the breaks, baby’s head can snap forward.” The rear-facing seat also distributes a crash’s force over the child’s entire body, and better protects against brain and spinal cord injuries. Just because a child’s feet or legs are longer than the car seat, does not mean they have outgrown the height and weight restrictions listed in the car seat manual, and that seat is still the safest pla