Child Safety Information and Resources 2019 2-14-56


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Child Car Seat Safety System

Along with the problem of instructions not being followed properly, there are other hazards that can affect children involving these safety seats. A recent study[clarification needed] attributed many cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to the prolonged sitting or lying position these infants are in when putting the safety seats to use. When researchers reviewed more than 500 infant deaths, it was found that 17 of these deaths occurred while the infant was in a device such as a child safety seat. The age of the most occurring rates of death by SIDS in a child safety device was found to be under one month, having six of the 17 deaths happen in this age group. Although SIDS has been found to be a high risk regarding child safety seats, a coroner in Quebec also stated that “putting infants in car seats…causes breathing problems and should be discouraged."[51] His warning came after the death of a two-month-old boy who was left to nap in a child safety seat positioned inside his crib rather than the crib itself. The death was linked to positional asphyxiation.[51] This means that the child was in a position causing him to slowly lose his supply of oxygen. Coroner Jacques Robinson said it's common for a baby's head to slump forward while in a car seat that is not properly installed in a car and that can diminish a baby's ability to take in oxygen. "The car seat is for the car," he said. "It's not for a bed or sleeping." Robinson added, however, he has nothing against car seats when they are properly used. The coroner said that it is common for a baby’s head to “slump forward while in a car seat and that it diminishes oxygen”.[51]

There are many car seat choices on the market. Use the information below to help you choose the type of car seat that best meets your child’s needs or print out NHTSA’s car seat recommendations for children (PDF, 370 KB).

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Most convertible seats in the U.S. have at least a 16 kg (35 lb) rear-facing weight limit, most now to go to 18 kg (40 lb), some 20 kg (44 lb) and a few 23 kg (51 lb). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children remain rear-facing until they outgrow their convertible seat, regardless of how old they are. Children can remain in a rear-facing seat until they have either outgrown the weight limit for their seat, or the top of their head is within 25 mm (1 in) of the top of the shell of the car seat.[9]

The move from having car seats in the front passenger seat to having them in the back seat, facing backwards, may make it easier for a busy, distracted parent to leave an infant in the car.[28] Each year, between 30 and 50 infants die of heat illness and hypothermia in the United States after being left in a car.[28]

Though there are hundreds of variations of makes and models in the world of child safety seats, the materials used in the manufacturing process are basically the same. Factories in which the seats are put together receive loads of polypropylene pellets.[48] Foam makes up the padding of the individual seats, while vinyl and fabrics are used to make up the covers for the seats as well as the harnesses.


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