Be car seat safe
At a recent education event, our Emergency Department team learnt some important things about child car seat safety. We hope sharing these messages with you will help keep our community safe on the roads, especially as we head into the holiday season.
Sandringham Hospital is all about community. We work tirelessly to keep you well, and we also want to keep you and your family safe. According to a recent poll by the Royal Children's Hospital, many parents aren't aware of best ways to keep their children safe when traveling in cars. Emma Saddington, Nurse Unit Manager for Sandringham Hospital Emergency Department, said she was surprised to learn that the legal requirements for car seats and the guidelines about what is safest for children did not align. As a mum to Hamish and Charlotte (pictured), Emma is keen to ensure other parents are informed.
"As mum and dads, we all want to do our best for our children and keep them safe," Emma said.
"The following tips should help you learn everything you need to know about keeping your kids safe in the car."
Did you know?
- Two thirds of Australian children travel in forward-facing car seats too early
- Children are safest in a booster seat until they are 145 cm tall
- Children are safest travelling in the back seat of the car until they reach the age of 13
The Royal Children’s Hospital, Kidsafe, RACV, and other key health and safety organisations all agree.
So, some tips from the experts.
- Always refer to the safety instructions and shoulder height markers on your child’s car seat and ensure their seat is the right size
- Make sure that child seats have been fitted correctly to your car
- Keep infants rear-facing until two years of age. Why? There is a ton of research indicating this position is more effective in preventing serious injury in the event of a collision. Infants’ necks are still developing and their heads relatively large so they need all the support you can give them.
- Once they get bigger, use height rather than age as your trigger to move children from a booster seat to using an adult seat belt. Why? 145cm is the height at which adult seat belts are safe and effective. Most children don’t reach this height until they’re 11 years of age.
- Kids want to grow up too quickly! Explain to your adolescents and tweens that they’re safest in the back seat until they’re at least 13 year old. Why? We know this can be a tough conversation, but keeping kids safe is what it’s all about. Adult seat belts rely on fully developed hip and breastbones to keep the belt low on the hips and in a safe positon across the chest. This development occurs somewhere between 11 and 17 years old.
If you'd like to engage your child in whether they're the correct height for an adult seat belt, check out this Royal Children's ruler you can print at home.
The RACV has some great tips on installing child seats and keeping your kids safe.