Posts Tagged ‘
car safety ’
Thursday, June 4th, 2015
On Tuesday, Jamie Buckley pulled into the parking lot of the Panama City, Fla., elementary school where she taught. It was 7:30 a.m. and, presumably, a morning like most others—with one major exception. Buckley forgot that her 18-month-old daughter, Reagan, was still strapped in the back seat. The temperatures climbed, and by afternoon it was 83 degrees outside the car and even hotter inside. By the time Buckley opened the driver’s side door at 3:15 p.m., her baby had died.
Sadly, the Florida mom isn’t the only one to make this fatal mistake. So far this year, we’ve heard about the 16-month old in Columbia County, Fla., who died after her dad forgot to drop her off at daycare, and the 2 1/2-year-old Phoenix boy who died after his father forgot he was in the car. Then there was the Massachusetts dad who only remembered he left his 1-year-old in the backseat after he boarded the commuter train to work. (He frantically called 911, and the little girl survived.)
Though some people are quick to criticize these parents, the fact is, it can happen to any of us. It’s too easy to get distracted when you’re juggling the hectic demands of work, child care duties, errands, traffic—basically, the stuff of everyday life. Unfortunately, we see this play out every year, especially during summer. Last year alone, 30 children died as a result of being left in a hot car. Thirty. And while that’s the lowest number we’ve seen since 2006, it’s still far too many.
Related: You’d Never Forget Your Child In the Car, Right?
Of course, there are things we can do to help prevent such a tragedy. You can download an app that will send you helpful reminders to take your baby out of the car with you—especially handy for those of us who live with our phones strapped to our bodies. Or, for a more low-tech approach, commit these tips from Safe Kids Worldwide to memory:
* Never leave your child alone in a car. Not even for a minute while you run in the grocery store.
* Keep your car locked whenever you’re not in it, so your child doesn’t get in by himself.
* Create a reminder. This could be as simple as putting something important, like your purse or phone, next to your child so you’ll be forced to look in the backseat before you exit the car.
And as always, if you see a baby alone in a car, call 911 immediately. You could help save a life.
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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
Image of baby in car courtesy of Shutterstock
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Friday, January 9th, 2015
Update (1/11/15): Many of our readers pointed out that the stock image (right) shows a forward-facing child in a car seat without a chest clip. The image was chosen only to illustrate the forward-facing car seat mistake most parents make, so we apologize for any confusion. Car seats in the U.S. are not required to have a chest clip, but most car seats do have them. Always remember to follow the AAP car seat guidelines.
Installing a car seat properly is one of the trickiest things to master for new parents — and at least 93 percent of parents make one huge car seat mistake after baby is born.
Even Prince William practiced how to install a car seat before being filmed live on television. Despite putting in practice time, some parents were still quick to point out the big car seat mistake he made: installing the car seat facing forward.
Well, turns out Prince William isn’t the only one who makes the forward-facing car seat mistake. A new study reveals that three-quarters of parents (around 75%) actually turn their car seat forward-facing too soon. Researchers from the University of Michigan conducted two web-based national surveys about car seat positions, with parents who had kids under 4 years old. 495 parents participated in the first 2011 survey and 521 parents in the second 2013 survey. The 2011 survey was conducted after the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its car seat guidelines, and the 2013 survey was conducted before the next round of AAP updates.
Results for 2011 showed that 33 percent of parents turned the car seat from back- to forward-facing either before or at 12 months, with only 16 percent turning the car seat when a child was 2 years or older. Results for 2013 showed some improvement but not much — 24 percent turned the car seat before or at 12 months versus 23 percent at 2 years or older.
“There are lots of reasons why parents are eager to change from the rear-facing to forward-facing seat: the perception their children are too large, the desire to see their children when driving, and a greater ease of removing their children from a forward facing seat,” said Michelle L. Macy, lead author of the study, which was published in Academic Pediatrics
But determining when to change a car seat from back- to forward-facing shouldn’t be based on a child’s age but on height and weight. Even though there isn’t one national car seat law, the current AAP car seat guidelines state a child should be in a back-facing car seat until he is at least 2 years old or until he has reached the maximum height and weight that the car seat allows. A child can then transition to a forward-facing booster seat with a harness only after reaching a certain age and height. Parents should also be aware of the new LATCH rules for older kids.
Being aware of the latest car seat guidelines is important in reducing automobile accidents, one of the main causes for the death of kids under 4.
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea
Image: Sleeping baby in a forward-facing car seat via Shutterstock
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Monday, October 13th, 2014
Remember how nervous you were bringing your brand-new baby home? How you and your partner fretted over every bump in the road and gave the stink eye to any car that got within six feet of yours? How you wanted this maiden voyage — and every one after that — to be smooth, easy and, most importantly, safe?
Turns out, that first trip home from the hospital is often anything but, reports Today.com. According to a new study presented Friday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a whopping 93 percent of parents make at least one major error when installing their car seat or securing baby in it — and that’s before they’ve even left the hospital parking lot. The most common mistakes? A too-loose harness (68 percent), a too-low retainer clip (33 percent), and the wrong harness slot (28 percent). Meanwhile, in almost 70 percent of cases, there were issues with both baby’s positioning and the car seat installation.
The study, led by Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, a professor of pediatrics at the Doernbecher Hospital at the Oregon Health and Science University, involved 267 randomly selected moms and babies who were in the hospital’s mother-baby unit between November 2013 and May 2014. As the women — or a third party — installed the car seat and placed the newborn in it, a certified child passenger safety technician watched and took notes of any mistakes. (The tech helped fix the errors before the new families drove away.)
As Dr. Hoffman points out, it’s all too easy for exhausted, overwhelmed new parents who have never actually used a car seat before to make some mistakes at first. “If you wanted to create the perfect storm for misuse, this would be it,” Dr. Hoffman said. “You take the most vulnerable person you could, a newborn, and the most vulnerable of caretakers, a family that has just had a baby, and you just take them to the door and just say good luck.”
But as any mom or mom-to-be knows, a car seat is only as good as its installation and use. That’s why Dr. Hoffman, himself a car seat technician, offered a slew of tips for rookie parents. They include: tightening the harness so you can’t pinch any slack between your fingers in the harness webbing; keeping the chest clip level with your baby’s armpit; adjusting the car seat at the correct angle; and securing the car seat with either a seat belt or lower anchors — but not both, unless your manufacturer says so. (You should also check out our car seat safety check article for more pointers.)
Of course, if you’re unsure — or too wiped out come the third trimester — you can always ask a car seat safety technician to inspect your handiwork or do the job for you. Each year, Safe Kids Coalition sponsors more than 8,000 free car seat safety events around the country, where on-hand experts will teach you the basics of installation and use. Or you can check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s online directory of car seat inspection stations. The peace of mind you’ll get during that first trip home is priceless.
Tell us: Did you install the car seat yourself or did you ask someone else to do it for you?
How safe is your baby’s car seat? Check out our Products Recall database to find out. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!
Image of baby in a carseat courtesy of Shutterstock
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Friday, July 25th, 2014
Fifteen minutes is about the time it takes for most of us to run a quick errand. But it’s also how long it takes the inside of your parked car to climb to 109 degrees hot in the summer months — and that’s with the windows cracked open a couple of inches. Sitting inside such sweltering conditions, of course, delivers a punishing blow to the body, especially so for babies. Think brain and organ damage, heat stroke or even death, a nightmarish scenario we’ve seen play out too many times this summer. (Scary fact: 36 children die in overheated cars in the United States every year. Read this eye-opening Parents magazine piece about hot car dangers.)
But two new apps are hoping to put an end to this very preventable problem — and offer overwhelmed, distracted, exhausted, busy parents a helping hand. The first, “Precious Cargo,” was designed by a North Carolina dad of a one-year-old and is simple yet effective, reports Today: When you sit down in the car and Bluetooth is activated, you’ll receive a message from the app asking if you’re traveling with precious cargo (i.e. your baby). If you are, you enter the child’s name, and once the engine stops, you’ll receive an alert to remind you there’s “precious cargo” in the car. If you’re driving sans baby, the app is deactivated until the next time the car starts up.
The second, Kars4Kids Safety, is also a piece of cake to use. An customizable alarm goes off whenever you and your phone exit the car to remind you to retrieve your baby from the carseat. The app, created by the nonprofit Kars4Kids, just requires a Bluetooth-enabled phone and car.
Personally, there are just a few apps that can actually help make my life easier. These are among them. Besides the fact that they’re insanely user-friendly, they also reach us in a most reliable place — our cell phones — which most of us won’t even walk down the hall of our home without carrying. And they’re affordable to boot — Precious Cargo is 99 cents, while Kars4Kids is free. But the peace of mind these handy apps can offer us wiped-out, on-the-go parents? Invaluable.
Tell us: Would you use an app to help you remember to take baby out of a parked car?
Getting ready to go on a trip? Visit our Diaper Bag checklist to make sure you don’t forget a thing. And remember to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!
Image of baby in carseat courtesy of Shutterstock
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Monday, July 21st, 2014
“I can’t wait to hop in the car and run errands with my child,” said no parent ever. If you’re not trying to snap your baby out of a crying jag with a one-handed backwards version of “Twinkle Twinkle,” then you’re mouth-breathing while an explosive poop fills up her diaper. (Side note: what’s up with the timing of those?) Oh, and yeah, you’re also trying to remember to keep your hands at 10 and 2, give people the right of way and always use your turn signal.
I mean, really.
Apparently, the engineers at Toyota are no strangers to the perils of traveling with kids and have designed what can only be described as every parent’s dream car. It’s a Sienna minivan, yes, but it’s a minivan that’s going to help you get from Point A to Point B without feeling like you’ve just run a marathon. That’s because it’s equipped with two magical features, the AP reports. The first, “Driver Easy Speak,” lets you speak into a built-in microphone that will amplify your voice through speakers in the backseat, making hollering over your shoulder a thing of the past (though feel free to continue shouting back there if needed). Best part? The feature only works for the driver, meaning your baby’s shrieks won’t be any louder than normal.
The second bell and whistle sure to win over parents is the “pull-down conversation mirror,” which lets you check on the kids without having to turn around. The feature is optional, but I can’t for the life of me imagine why a parent wouldn’t spring for it. Sparing yourself the agony of twisting around in the middle of a traffic jam to deal with a baby tantrum has got to be worth the extra cost.
But you’ll have to endure the road trips and errand-running without the high-tech help for now. The 2015 Sienna doesn’t roll into showrooms until this fall.
Tell us: How do you handle your baby’s meltdowns while driving?
Hitting the road with your baby? Don’t get caught unprepared. Consult our Diaper Bag Checklist to see what you should pack — and what can stay home.
Image of 2015 Toyota Sienna interior courtesy of Toyota
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