Infants require the use of car seats as passengers in vehicles at all times, and these seats must meet the required safety standards and specifications established by state and federal law. It is important to provide infants with the best possible car seat to ensure their safety during periods of travel and to identify all possible safety measures that will have a positive impact on the infant while seated. All infants must be placed in car seats that are rear facing, and this type of seat must be used until they reach age two or meet the weight or height specifications set forth by the car seat manufacturer (Healthychildren.org, 2016).
There are two options to install the car seat into the vehicle: by using the seat belt or by using the LATCH system (lower anchors and tethers for children); in addition, there are different types of rear-facing car seats that are available, including those which may also be part of a stroller (Healthychildren.org, 2016). Most car seats also have a base that can remain in the vehicle on a regular basis, whereby only the seat itself must be removed if necessary for a different purpose, such as a carrier or for a stroller (Healthychildren.org, 2016). This provides parents with greater flexibility in meeting their needs for the child moving forward.
The use of a rear-facing seat for infants requires a critical examination of the instructions to ensure that all steps are properly followed and the child will be safe within the seat as required by law. This also supports an understanding of why safety measures are necessary because in the event of a mishap or accident, the child will be protected as best as possible from injury or harm. These practices are important because they promote the safety and security of all infants within their car seats and pose a lower risk of injury if all steps are followed properly and are routinely monitored to ensure that the child is safe in the vehicle at all times.
All car seats must be placed in the back seat of the vehicle and must face the rear to promote optimal safety and reduce the risk of potential harm for the child at all times (KidsHealth.org, 2016). Prior to installation of the car seat, it is necessary to read all instructions so that the car seat is properly placed in the vehicle and the baby is properly placed in the set to maximize safety (KidsHealth.org, 2016). Under these conditions, it is necessary to determine the best possible means of facilitating safe outcomes for infants in these car seats by recognizing any signs of distress of lack of support that may require intervention (KidsHealth.org, 2016). With careful monitoring, the safety of the infant within the car seat will be optimized and demonstrate a need for further guidance to ensure that the child is not at risk of being injured while in the car seat under any circumstances.
Statistics Regarding the Importance of the Topic
It is believed that an infant who is correctly placed in a rear-facing seat will be three times less likely be seriously injured in a car accident because they will be supported by the back of the car seat and will have greater protection for the neck, torso, and head (KidsHealth.org, 2016). Unfortunately, it has been observed that over 618,000 children between the ages of 0-12 have been in the car at least once on an annual basis without a child safety seat (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). This is a serious problem that poses significant risk to a child and is irresponsible in protecting the child from unnecessary risk, harm, or injury. In addition, there were 602 deaths between the ages of 0 and 12 attributed to motor vehicle accidents in 2014, along with approximately 121,350 injuries; therefore, it is necessary to consider the alternatives that are available to protect children while in motor vehicles and to seek opportunities to optimize their protection with the use of an approved car seat with the required specifications (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Child passenger safety: get the facts. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html
- Healthychildren.org (2016). Car seats: information for families. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx
- KidsHealth.org (2016). Infant-only seats (Birth to 22-35 pounds). Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/auto-baby-toddler.html#kha_21