Date :Sunday, October 12th, 2014 | Time : 16:08 |ID: 16797 | Print

Kids Car Seat Safety Study Reveals Common Mistakes New Parents Commits

SHAFAQNA –  According to a study which was presented on Oct. 11 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in San Diego; most parents with newborn infants requires proper instructions for installing the infant car safety seat and buckling up their baby while they are on their way to the home from the hospital.

A study conducted at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital on 267 families revealed that 93% committed at least one critical mistake while placing their infant in a car safety seat and again while installing the safety seat in the vehicle.

Critical errors are defined as the errors that put infants at increased risk for injury in a crash according to the definition of The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Car safety seats can be difficult to use correctly for many families, and we need to provide the resources and services they need to help ensure the safest possible travel for newborns and all children,” said the lead author of the study, Benjamin Hoffman, a professor of pediatrics at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University and a certified car passenger safety technician.

“Unsafe from the Start: Critical Misuse of Car Safety Seats for Newborns at Initial Hospital Discharge.”

The study was done at a teaching hospital and research center in Portland, Ore which included babies and caregivers discharged from Doernbecher’s mother-baby unit between fall 2013 and spring 2014.

On an average there were 4.2 misuses per family. 90% of the families made two or more errors, while 50% committed five or more.

While positioning the baby 68 percent committed the error of not appropriately tightening the harness, while 33% placed the harness retainer clip very low than needed. Other errors committed were the use of wrong harness slot, unawareness about the way the harness should be adjusted and using a non-regulated product in conjunction with the car seat.

43 percent of families were caught installing the seat too loosely, while other the 57% faced issues in angling the car seat properly, not locking the seat belt, and putting wrong spacing between the car seat and the vehicle’s front seat.

“We collaborated with parents to correct any misuses before they left the hospital … and parents were incredibly grateful to know they were traveling home as safely as possible,” Hoffman said. “Everyone was very well-intentioned in this process, but many families were very surprised to find out how many errors they made.”

“I always recommend that parents go to to find a CPST in their area if they don’t know one already, because they will help guide them through whatever they need to know,” said Jamie Grayson, owner of and a certified car passenger safety technician (CPST) himself.

Families with increased risk for one or more critical errors were mainly having lower socioeconomic background, were less educated, were non-white, were not English speaking individuals, and were unmarried or not had a partner.

“Read your manual,” Grayson advised. “Both your car seat manual and your car manual.”

Hoffman suggests the following guidelines for the parents:

  • Tighten the harness in a way that one can’t pinch any slack between the fingers in the harness webbing.
  • Ensure the chest clip is at the level of the infant’s armpit
  • When in the rear-facing car seat the harness should placed across the slot at or below the child’s shoulders
  • While installing check that the car seat is tight and have no more than an inch of play side-to-side and back-to-front
  • Adjust the car seat at the correct angle: If it’s too tight there’s a risk of the baby’s airway getting blocked and if it’s too reclined, it won’t protect the baby in a crash
  • Do not use both the seat belt and the lower anchors, use one at a time, to secure the car seat — unless the manual mentions to use both.

“Car crashes kill more kids than any other cause…we need to move beyond the idea that we cannot afford to develop and support child passenger safety programs…we can’t afford not to,” Hoffman said.

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