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Posts for category: Child Safety

By Northside Pediatrics Associates
August 07, 2019
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Car Seats  

Kids may complain about being restrained in the car, but car seats and booster seats save lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that using a car or booster seat in a passenger car reduces the risk of fatal injury 71 percent in children younger than 1 and 54 percent in toddlers ages 1 to 4. The statistics are just as impressive for older kids.

What type of seat should I use for my child?

Infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height recommended by the manufacturer. In the past, children were routinely removed from rear-facing seats when they were 2, even if they didn't meet height or weight limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their guidelines and now recommend that kids remain in the seats as long as possible.

Toddlers and pre-schoolers who have reached the maximum height or weight limits for rear-facing seats should use forward-facing car seats. Again, the seats should be used until the child reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations.

Once kids are too tall or heavy for car seats, they will transition to booster seats. Booster seats should be used until children are 4'9" tall and 8 to 12 years old. Older children can begin using seat belts at that point but should sit in the back seat when possible, particularly if they're younger than 13.

How can I tell if the car seat is installed correctly?

Both car and booster seats should be securely fashioned with a latch system or seat belt. If the seat moves back and forth freely, it's not installed correctly. Properly installed seats should move no more than an inch in any direction.

My child's legs seem too long for the car seat. What should I do?

You may wonder if your child should move up to the next seat or a booster seat if your child's feet touch the back of car seat. As long as your child is shorter than the maximum height for the seat, he or she should remain in the current seat.

Should my child use a secondhand car seat?

Passing a seat down to your next child can be a good idea if your children are only a few years apart in age. Before you reuse a seat for a younger child, make sure that it hasn't expired or been recalled since you bought it. Throw away car and booster seats after accidents, even minor ones. The seat may look perfectly fine but may be damaged internally.

Buying secondhand car seats online or at yard sales should be avoided. You won't necessarily know if the seat has been in an accident or if it has defective latches or restraints.

Using car seats consistently, whether you're going to the grocery store or taking a cross-country trip, can help your child avoid serious injuries due to traffic accidents. Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have questions about the seats.

By Northside Pediatrics Associates
September 15, 2017
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Crib  

Buying a New CribA new baby needs a lot of things. From bottles and car seats to high chairs and baby monitors, an expectant parent has a lot of decisions and purchases to make before baby’s arrival. Considering your baby will spend a great deal of time here, a crib is one of the most important things a parent will buy.

Whether you’re shopping for a brand new crib or receiving a hand-me-down from a relative or friend, remember to evaluate your baby’s resting place carefully to ensure it meets all of the safety guidelines. You can visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website for information regarding all of these important safety standards.

There are many types of cribs available today, and parents will want to be educated about safety features and guidelines before choosing one for their baby. Here are a few helpful tips from the AAP:

  • Make sure the crib meets current safety standards before purchasing it. As of June 28, 2011, new federal safety standards prohibit the manufacture or sale of drop-side rail cribs. The standards also require stronger hardware and increased durability.  
  • If you have a crib that was manufactured before the new safety standards were enacted, contact the manufacturer to see if they offer hardware to keep the drop side from being raised or lowered. Consider buying a new crib that meets the stronger standards, if possible.
  • Read and follow the directions carefully for setting up, using and caring for the crib.
  • Regularly inspect your crib’s screws and hardware, and tighten them as necessary.
  • The mattress should fit snugly in the crib to prevent the baby from slipping between the mattress and the crib sides. As a general rule, no more than two of your fingers should fit between the mattress and the side of the crib.
  • Do not use the crib if there are any missing, damaged or broken parts, and never substitute original parts with pieces from a hardware store. Always contact the crib manufacturer for replacement materials.
  • Be sure to inspect every crib your child uses—from grandma’s house to the day care center—for safety.
  • Visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if your crib has been recalled.
  • The slats of the crib should be no more than 2 3⁄8 inches apart, as widely spaced slats can trap the infant.
  • All surfaces of the crib should be covered with lead-free paint, and the wood should be smooth and free of splinters.

Remember, your baby will spend many hours in his or her crib. Take special care to ensure that your baby’s sleeping place offers very little opportunity for injuries and problems. You can learn more about crib safety standards, as well as safe bedding practices by visiting www.healthychildren.org and www.cpsc.gov, or by contacting your pediatrician for more information.

By Northside Pediatrics Associates
May 16, 2017
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Playground Safety  

Playground SafetyWhether it’s at the park, school or in your own backyard, kids of all ages enjoy climbing on the monkey bars, going down the slide and swinging.  Playgrounds are a great place for kids to exercise, take in fresh air and socialize with friends.   Unfortunately, it’s also a place many kids get injured every year as a result of faulty equipment and improper use.  In fact, each year more than 200,000 kids under the age of 15 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground-related injuries.

While there are some inevitable dangers, the good news is that many of these injuries can easily be prevented with proper supervision. Do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe?

Play it Safe: What to Look for at Your Playground

Risks linked with playground safety may not be as apparent as those associated with swimming or biking; you just have to know what to look for. You can make the playground safe and fun for your kids by checking equipment and surfacing for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. These include:

  • Always supervise your child to ensure playground equipment is used properly.  
  • Regularly check playground equipment for loose, sharp or broken parts. 
  • Know which surfacing is most appropriate. Sand, wood chips and rubberized matting are the safest surfaces for playgrounds, while concrete or asphalt could lead to a serious injury if a child falls.
  • Make sure playground equipment is age and size appropriate for your child.
  • Minimize injuries by teaching your kids basic playground rules.
  • Play areas for younger children should be separated from those for older kids.
  • Don’t let children wear drawstrings, purses, necklaces or other items that could get caught on equipment.
  • Report dangerous playgrounds to responsible parties.
  • Ask your pediatrician about other tips for playground safety.

Don’t let careless behavior or a faulty apparatus ruin playground fun.  To minimize injuries, always be on the lookout for faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior.  Play is an essential part of a child’s physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these playground safety tips will help your kids play as safely as possible.