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Texas Health Stephenville Helps Parents with Child Seat Safety|
STEPHENVILLE, Texas — With state car seat laws changing on Sept. 1, safety checks by Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville employees are taking on even greater significance educating parents about how to comply.
Each month, Texas Health Stephenville hosts free car seat checks from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. The checks are held at the Stephenville Fire Station. Parents must register by calling 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).
During the event, parents may have car seats checked and learn if a new seat is required. A certified child passenger safety technician checks to see if the car seat is appropriate for the age, weight and size of the child, as well as if it is positioned in the safest place of the car, if the seat belts are being used correctly and if the seat is safe to use.
Now is a great time to have any child’s car seat checked. As of Sept. 1, children 8 or younger, unless they are taller than 4-foot-9, must use child safety seats. A warning period will last until June 1.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children remain in a child safety seat until eight years of age, or reaches 4 feet 9 inches or 80 pounds. The SAFE KIDS campaign estimates that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children, with more than 270,000 children injured and more than 1,765 children killed every year.
“Having the proper safety seat in place, and installed correctly, is a crucial step to keeping children safe,” said Jennifer McMeens, R.N., clinical educator at Texas Health Stephenville. “Child passenger safety technicians would rather install a car seat correctly and prevent injuries than to have an injured child come into our hospital because their car seat was installed incorrectly. We can help try to prevent that from happening and we want to keep children from getting hurt in our community.”
Many parents are unaware of the recommendations for child safety seats. For example, all infants should ride rear-facing in either an infant car seat or convertible seat and toddlers should remain rear-facing in a convertible car seat until they have reached the maximum height and weight recommended for the model, or at least the age of 2. Also, according to carseat.org, car seats have expiration dates because weather can cause the material to deteriorate.
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Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.