Health educators were on hand at the Bridge Community Health Clinic to show parents the proper way to install car seats. They pointed out the basic safety tips for infant seats, toddler seats, and young kid car seats.
Officials say the first rule of thumb is making sure the seats are snuggly fit into the car. To make sure they're not loose, slide the seat back and forth, if they move more than an inch, they need tightened.
For infants, make sure the seat faces the back of the car and the straps are snug, with only a finger's width under the strap. Toddler seats should be placed also in the back seat, buckled tightly, and harness straps snug. Booster seats help seat belts lay correctly across a child. The belt should lie across the hip bone area, not across the stomach.
Other tips include making sure all kids ride in the back seat, are away from airbags, and are always buckled up.
If you missed the clinic today, Wausau Hospital offers help the first Wednesday of every month at the New Beginnings Birthing Center, 4-6 p.m.
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Seat Belt Tips
- A safety belt can only protect you if it is used, and used properly.
- Provide enough safety belts for each person traveling in your vehicle. Each person needs his or her own safety belt. Make sure all safety belts are working properly.
- Ask passengers in the front and rear seats to use their safety belts. Most people will gladly buckle up if the driver asks them to.
- Do not start your car until all safety belts are fastened.
- Adjust your safety belt so it fits snugly over your hip bones. It should cross your lap low on the hips, not high across your stomach.
- A shoulder belt should go over your shoulder and across your body diagonally. It should never be worn under your arm.
Child Restraint Laws
- Children under the age of four years must be secured in an approved child restraint system, more commonly called a child safety seat.
- Four and five year-olds must be secured either in a safety seat or by a safety belt.
- A person or legal guardian of a child under the age of four years is responsible for providing a child safety seat to anyone who transports his or her child.
- A person who transports another's child under four years of age does not violate the law if the parent or legal guardian fails to provide a child safety seat and none is used.
- A child with a physical disability, which prevents the use of standard safety seats, is exempt from the provisions of the law if the handicap is duly certified by a physician. A blanket exemption is also granted in case of medical emergency.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 100 percent correct use of child safety seats could have prevented nearly 500 deaths and about 56,000 serious injuries to children in the United States in just one year alone.
Source: www.state.il.us/isp/ (Illinois State Police Web site) contributed to this report.