Free Car Seat Checks Offered by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
09/27/2011

PLANO, Texas — In motor vehicle crashes, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children younger than 1 and by 54 percent for children 1 to 4 in passenger cars, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Because properly installed car seats can reduce the risk of injury that much, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano hosts several free car seat checks each month. In October, Texas Health Plano will be hosting car seat checks on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Tuesday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 22.

In addition, Texas Health Resources will be hosting a free car seat check event from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, September 30, at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. All car seat checks offered by Texas Health are free, but registration is required by calling 1-877-THR-WELL.

“Getting your child’s car seat checked only takes a few minutes but can make all the difference in an accident,” said Danelle Parker, R.N., manager of Community Health Improvement for Texas Health Plano. “We are happy to be able to provide this service to area parents several times a month.”

In 2009 alone, 754 children 12 or younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes while riding in passenger cars or light trucks. And among those who were fatally injured where restraint use was known, 42 percent were unrestrained. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented if the children were in the right restraint for their age and size.

The NHTSA recently released updated car seat recommendations for children through age 12. The new recommendations emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next type:

  • Birth – 12 months
    For the best possible protection, your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
  • 1 – 3 years
    Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
  • 4 – 7 years
    Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
  • 8 – 12 years
    Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.

The NHTSA’s general recommendations for care seat safety include:

  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
  • Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
  • To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
  • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should visit a local inspection station, such as the Texas Health Plano’s car seat checks, to assist them in proper use of their children’s car seats.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano is a 368-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, providing technologically advanced care to Plano and surrounding areas since 1991. The hospital’s services include orthopedics, cardiovascular services, oncology, pediatrics and women’s services. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Plano has more than 1,600 employees and 1,200 physicians on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Plano.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.