Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system regulations will change for child safety seats, according to the safety guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The change in guidelines will take place in 2014. The LATCH system is designed to hold up to 65 pounds (child and car seat weight combined). The new rule is called the FMVXX 213 and will go into effect on February 27, 2014. The rule will require car seats with internal harnesses to have a label indicating the maximum child weight for using lower LATCH anchors to secure the car seat in a motor vehicle. The new label would specify a maximum child weight between 45 to 53 pounds for using lower LATCH systems.
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The summer heat is dangerous for children left in cars. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Hyperthermia, otherwise known as heat stroke, is the leading cause of deaths for children under the age of 14 in non accident vehicle deaths in the United States. An average of 27 deaths from children suffering from hyperthermia, are reported yearly.
Here are a few tips recommended by the NHTSA to keep children safe in cars during the hot summer months:
- Never leave a child in a vehicle alone
- Never let a child play unattended in a vehicle
- Never leave infants and children under the age of 14 in parked cars. Not even if you leave the windows slightly open, or if the car is on and with the air conditioning on.
- If you see that a child has been left alone in a hot vehicle, do not hesitate and call the police. Even if you see that the child's face is red, hot, moist, or even extremely dry, no sweating, nauseated or acting strangely. Remove the child from the vehicle and call the police or ambulance for assistance.
These deaths are 100% preventable, if the right steps are followed by parents, caregivers, and the community.
Air Bags are not soft like pillows. In order for them to work and save lives, they come out of the dashboard at about 200 miles per hour, faster than the blink of an eye. The force of the air bag can hurt people who sit too close to it.
- Children 12 and under should not ride in the front seat. They should ride buckled up in the rear seats.
- Infants in rear facing child seats should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle.
- All children under the age of 12 should ride in the rear seat and in approved child safety seats, according to their age and size.
- Every adult should buckle up with a lap and shoulder safety belt.
- The lap belt should be worn under the abdomen and low across the hips. The shoulder belt should come across the collar bone, away from the neck, and come across the breast bone.
- Both driver and front seat passenger seats should be moved as far back as practical, specially, for shorted people. Keep as much distance as possible between you and the airbag.
Public/Private Partnerships of automobile manufacturers, insurance companies, child safety seat agencies, health professionals, and child health and safety organizations together make up the Air Bag Safety Campaign, whose focus is on driver, passenger and child safety. They came up with a simple to teach and simple to remember air bag message they call the ABC's:
Air bag Safety -
Children in Back
In Summary, children under the age of 12 are safest when properly restrained in the back seat of vehicles. When a child under the age of 12 is properly restrained in the back seat they are up to 29 percent safer than those children that sit in the front seat.
For more information, please contact the Air Bag Safety Campaign at (202)625-2570 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Auto Safety Hotline at (800)424-9393 or www.nhtsa.dot.gov
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) released a report in early October 2010 that shows that the two safest roadways are in Washington and Oregon, according to their 2010 ENA National Scorecard of State Roadway Laws. The District of Columbia has a score of 12, Maryland a score of 11 and Virginia a score of 9.
The 2010 ENA National Scorecard ranks states based on 14 types of legislation that address such things as seat belt use, motorcycle helmet requirements, devices to prevent drunk driving and cell phone use laws. States receive one point for each type of legislation they currently have. Oregon and Washington both had a score of 14, making them the safest roadways to travel in the United States.
Date collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that someone dies in a car crash in the US every 12 minutes and someone is injured, taken to and treated in an emergency department for injuries as a result of an automobile accident every 10 seconds. These injuries and deaths are preventable through roadways laws and enforcement of these safety laws, it is the passing of these safety laws that save lives.
Twenty six states and the District of Columbia have passed or enacted laws that prevent the entering, sending, reading or otherwise retrieving data for all drivers using wireless communication devices (i.e.: cell phones). 5,474 people died in 2009 as a result of distraction-related automobile accidents, according to the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration (NHSTA). This means that 18% of annual fatalities are a result of distracted drivers nationwide.
To view the full 2010 ENA National Scorecard and State Roadway Laws report please visit www.ena.org.
Here are some helpful hints to keep your child safe while riding in your vehicle:
1) Always use a Child Safety Seat.
2) Use the Correct Child Safety Seat for your child. Make sure you are using the right one based on your child's age and weight. Young children should ride in rear facing seats, while older children use forward facing seats and booster seats.
3) Be knowledgeable about your Child Safety Seat. Make sure the seat is installed properly and read the owners manual in case you have any questions or concerns about the safety seat. Also, most local fire departments offer child safety seat installing programs. All you need to do is take the child seat to your local fire department and they will instruct you on installing the safety seat properly.
4) Register your Child Safety Seat. By completing the registration card and registering your safety seat, you will be notified by the manufacturer should there be any problems and/or recalls on your specific model.
5) Love your baby. Children need more support than adults. Use a rear facing seat that offers additional head and neck support for babies up to 22 pounds.
6) Use a Booster Seat. Once your child has outgrown the Safety Seat make sure and continue the safety of your child with the use of a booster seat. These seats allow the child to use the lap and shoulder belts already in place in your car in a safe manner. Booster seats help position the belt across your child's chest rather than his/her neck.
7) Use Seat Harnesses Correctly. Harnesses should be in slots at or below the shoulders for rear facing seats and at or above the shoulders for forward facing seats. These harnesses should lie snug and in a straight line across your child.
8) Obey Safety Seat Belt Laws. Each state in the US has different laws on seat belts and child seats, so make sure and obey the law in your state. Also, if you travel, make sure and be aware of the laws in and around the state where you are traveling to.
9) Ask the Experts. You can learn how to correctly install your safety seat by attending local passenger safety clinics. These events are held frequently and are usually advertised in your local paper.
10) Search for more resources on Child Safety online at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website or by calling 866-SEAT-CHECK.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study that shows; that the costs associated with injuries from automobile crashes is more that $99 billion a year, nationwide. These costs include medical care costs and loss of productivity costs. Of this, $58 billion was due to fatalities, $28 billion for nonfatal injuries that required hospitalization, and $14 billion was for people treated as outpatients at hospitals. The study was released in August 2010. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this number increases considerably when you factor in higher insurance premiums, taxes and delays in travel, to nearly $230.6 billion. Grant Baldwin, Director of the CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention said, "This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related injuries from a cost perspective."
Injuries to occupants of motor vehicles, is about $70 billion, motorcyclist $12 billion, pedestrians $10 billion and Cyclists $5 billion.
Injuries and deaths from traffic accidents, however, have been falling. The lowest level since 1961 occurred in 2008, but traffic accidents are still the 9th leading cause of deaths worldwide. It is expected that by the year 2030 deaths caused by traffic accidents will become the 5th, surpassing diabetes, HIV/AIDS and Heart Disease. In the United States, 15 to 16 fatalities as a result of traffic accidents occur per every 100,000 people.
Motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths are preventable in the United States, if more laws were implemented that require helmets for motorcyclists, stricter seat belt, drug, alcohol and texting laws, as well as increasing teen rules until the age of 18.
Effective June 30, 2008, the state of Maryland, put into effect a New Child Booster Seat Law, which requires all children in Maryland to ride in an approved child booster seat until the age of 8, reach a height of 4'9", or weigh over 65 pounds. This new law also requires that children between the ages of 8-16 be secured in seat belts. Also no child under the age of 16 is allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks.
Booster seats are intended to provide a platform that lifts the child up off the vehicle seat in order to improve the fit of the child in the adult safety belt.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. The use of child booster seats for children ages 4-7 reduces the risk of injury from a car accident by 59% compared to using a seat belt without a booster seat.
Each year, an average of 500 children ages 4-7 die and thousands more are injured as a result of automobile accidents. According to the Partners for Child Passenger Safety, booster seats can substantially reduce the risk of death and injury to children through the age of 7. The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency's National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats states that only 25 % of children were properly secured in a booster seat.
Here are some helpful ways to determine when a child is ready to move from a child booster seat to a regular seat, according to the Safety Belt Safe and Safe USA.:
- the child, seating flush against the back of the seat, can bend his/her knees over the seat edge comfortably;
- the should belt rests between the neck and shoulder when seated;
- the lap belt is across his/her lap, not riding up on the abdomen or down on his/her thighs, when seated;
- the child is mature enough to remain in the correct position for the duration of the ride.
The fine for violating the law is $25 in the state of Maryland. 17 states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia have implemented the new booster seat law.