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Sadie Says… Keeping children safe, using safety seats

Keeping children safe, using safety seats

Q. Is it true child safety seats should not be used as cribs?

A. Did you know safety seats are safest when they are used as safety seats?

Babies should not sleep in safety seats when not traveling.

In a recent study of deaths associated with sitting and carrying devices for infants, almost two thirds occurred in safety seats that were being used as sleep areas outside the vehicle. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, when the car seats are not being used as directed, infants can fall from an elevated surface on which the seat was placed or flip onto a soft surface and suffocate. Infants can also be injured or killed with improper buckling of the safety seat straps.

Safety seats are for use in vehicles. The only time a child should sleep in a safety seat is when the seat is in the vehicle. Harness straps should always be snug — never loose or unfastened. Upon reaching the destination, children who are still sleeping should be placed in a crib, alone, on their backs, on a firm, flat surface with no soft bedding.

And as the weather gets colder, know that a child’s clothing can also affect the safety of the seat.

Snowsuits and thick coats can prevent the safety seat harness from staying snug. In a crash, the clothing can compress, making the harness loose and the child could be ejected.

Keep children safe and warm. Dress them in thinner warm clothing, such as fleece, that allows the harness to stay snug, or, after the harness is buckled, have children wear their coats backwards or cover with a blanket.

Make a New Year’s resolution to put safety first.

— Sadie Says is provided by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition

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