Properly installed child safety seats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants involved in crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Car seats save lives when used properly. I was involved in EMS for 10 years. Responded to many a car accident to find concerned parents with injuries, but thankfully not once saw an injury in a child secured in a rear-facing car seat.
This is why I feel it is so important to get your seat installed and professionally inspected.
Some things they are looking for:
- Expiration date – Before picking up a seat second hand confirm the expiration date. Generally, about 6 years after being manufactured, the date should be printed on the seat.
- Signs of wear – If you were in an accident the seat may have stress fractures in the frame. This is from the seat doing its job and absorbing the force of an impact. It is recommended to replace a seat after an accident.
- Recalls – Register with the manufacturer so you are notified if there is a problem with your seat.
- Height and weight limits –
- When you can / should go from rear to front facing – 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics “Children should ride in a rear-facing seat to the highest weight or height allowed for rear-facing use by the manufacturer of the seat.”
- Ensure that the angle of the car seat is correct.
- Checking for conflicts with airbags.
- Use of unapproved devices – Mirrors and other items can become projectiles in an accident.
- Proper use of straps to hold your child – including a reminder that blankets go over the straps, and bulky clothing are not advised because it will prevent the straps from being appropriately snug.
It is more complicated than what I am writing, and it is to your advantage to have your seat inspected. Rules keep changing, it is best to see an inspector to make sure you are up to date.
For information on locations:
- Loudoun County – https://www.purcellvillerescue.org/outreach-safety-education/car-seat-safety/ or they also post on Facebook under the name Saving Loudoun Littles.
- In other parts of the United States, you can find an inspection site at https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#installation-help-inspection
If you cannot afford a seat:
- https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/child-passenger-safety/low-income-safety-seat-program/ Help is available.
In the state of Virginia, all children are required to use a properly secured car seat every trip until they reach age 8. Code of Virginia Article 13 – § 46.2-1095. Fairfax City recommends under 12 continue to use safety seats.
Places that have done inspections in the past, but not currently as of April 2023:
- Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (AVFRD) no longer provide installation or safety checks of infant car seats.
- “Effective January 1, 2022, the Leesburg Police Department no longer offers this service.”
- “At this time, Virginia Tire & Auto is not offering car seat clinics.”
Our medical providers can help accelerate the healing process and teach you how to break the cycle of pain returning with use. Contact Beyond Wellness, specializing in acupuncture, chiropractic services, and more at 703.272.5469 or www.mybwdoc.com
Dr. Martin C. Donnelly, DC, CCEP, CKTP, FAKTR-PM, GRASTON Certified.