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Child safety seats save lives each year

Thousands of children die in crashes every year and tens of thousands are injured. In fact, according to a publication sponsored by Children’s Health System, car crashes are a leading killer of children.

No one can predict when a crash will occur, but they can take measures to prevent a child from being injured or killed by making sure the child is properly restrained.

“You’re the parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure they are restrained,” Stacey Wilson, RN and supervisor of Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s HealthStart Program, said.

HealthStart offers inspection of child seats and instruction on how to properly install them.

Car seats are most important because they are designed for a specific need.

“Vehicles today are designed for adults, because adults are the ones buying them, but most are not equipped for children,” Wilson said. “A child seat provides that extra protection a child needs.”

In an effort to reach as many parents as possible, HealthStart is hosting specific days that parents can bring their cars to the hospital and have a technician demonstrate the proper way to install the seat and use it.

“Every second Wednesday of the month, we will inspect cars here in Demopolis,” she said. “Every third Wednesday we will be at the Marengo County Health Department in Linden to service people in that area.”

HealthStart was one of the featured programs at KidSafe, the safety festival hosted by the hospital last month.

“We inspected four car seats, and we gave away seven booster seats and two child safety seats,” Wilson said.

During the month of October, HealthStart installed 35 child safety seats.

A basic guideline to follow is that children 5 to 30 pounds should be in a rear-facing child seat, those 20-40 pounds should be in a front-facing child seat and 30-80 pounds should be in a booster seat.

“Never put a child safety seat in a seat with an airbag,” suggests the Children’s Health System.

Additionally, no child under the age of 12 should be in a seat with an airbag, Wilson said.