Franciscan Health Steers Parents to Kids’ Car Seat Safety Event

Franciscan Health Indianapolis is encouraging parents and caregivers to have children’s safety seats inspected based on recommendations issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The hospital’s Child Passenger Safety Clinic is offering free inspections with certified technicians available to demonstrate the proper use of car seats and booster seats for youngsters. The event is 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, in the parking lot of Franciscan Health Weight Loss Center (5230 E. Stop 11 Road).

Franciscan Health is partnering on the project with the Automotive Safety Program (ASP) at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for this event. The Franciscan Health event coincides with Child Passenger Safety Week.

Language interpreters will be on hand to assist Hispanic and Burmese/Chin parents and adult caregivers. Children’s car seats will be provided for families who can prove they are receiving public assistance, and the child must be present.

“Increasing child passenger safety is a primary goal of ours,” said Sharilyn Wagner, a postpartum nurse and Child Passenger Safety Technician. “Statistics show the leading cause of death for children ages one to 13 is automobile accidents. This is why it is so important we ensure children are properly buckled and within the right car seat.”

If unable to visit the Sept. 21 car seat inspection, adults can arrange for free inspections any time of the year by calling Franciscan Health Indianapolis at (317) 528-5774.

Indiana Traffic Safety Facts: Children 2014

From 2010 to 2014, the number of children killed in Indiana traffic collisions declined 9 percent annually and the number experiencing incapacitating injuries increased 12 percent, according to this State of Indiana report. Between 2013 and 2014, the total number of child fatalities in Indiana traffic collisions fell by 43 percent, from 35 to 20.

The number of children in the less-than-1-year-old age group who experienced incapacitating injuries rose between 2013 and 2014 from 3 to 17.1 percent.

NHTSA Car Seat Recommendations for Children

Birth-12 months   A child under age one should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Rear-only facing seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear facing for a longer period of time. Never put a rear facing seat in front of an active airbag.

1-3 years   Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat (at least until the age of two) and should continue to ride rear-facing until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

4-7 years   Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat. A Child should at least a minimum of 4 years old and 40 pounds before moving up to a booster seat.

8-12 years   Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. Indiana State Law states that all children under the age of 8 must be in a booster seat or car seat. Best Practice is 4’ 9’.” For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: A child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.