SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. Executive Director Stephanie Tombrello explains how to select the appropriate safety seat for a child and how to prevent injuries from air bags.
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Hello, I am Stephanie Tombrello, Executive Director of SafetyBeltSafe U. S. A. We are talking about how to do the best protection for your family. Now, I would like to talk about how to select the best seat for your child. You know because I have been working in the field of child passenger safety for many years, many times a friend will say to me, "I know that you can tell me the very best safety seat. They are always surprised that I tell them the same litany. 1. The best seat is the one that fits your child. 2. It needs to be one that fits your car. 3. It needs to be a seat that your view is correctly on every trip, and therefore it needs to fit your family. But that's really the correct way to make a selection. All safety seats in the United States must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. They are certified by the manufacturers to meet that standard so they are crash worthy and they have the proper features. First, you are going to want to look for a seat that is appropriate for the child stage of development. Rear-facing as long as possible and today one can get convertible seats that go up to 30 to 35 pounds rear-facing and that's what we would recommend. Secondly, you will you want to stay with a forward-facing seat with a full harness and a top tether attached for as long as possible, and again today there are many seats that go well beyond 40 pounds with a full harness. Next, if you have a big kid that means the child preferably over age four. You will want to be using a booster seat. Booster seats come in different styles. When you are deciding about the right safety seat for your child or children, you need to start by finding out what's in your vehicle. What kind of safety belts do you have? How many headrest? Do you have lap belts only or do you have all shoulder-lap belts and how do they lock. Safety seats need to be locked into the car and if your safety belt system doesn't lock, do you have lower anchors and tethers for children. These are bars that are set in the vehicle seat and are only for attaching safety seats with harness systems. So once you have learned what kinds of systems you have in your car, you would be better to prepared as to the right seat for the child of every age and type. Now, we have talked about some of the basic considerations in choosing the right seat for your child or children. Now, we are going to talk about a one minute safety check for your whole family.