Car seats expire because plastics do break down over time, especially when exposed to different temperatures. Also, safety technology develop so fast that car seats several years old have outdated technology, that may not protect as well as more recently engineered seats can (i.e. side impact protection standards being integrated now).
Riding in an expired car seat is also illegal. Most states require that car seats are properly used, which means according to the manufacture instructions of the vehicle and car seat, going beyond the expiration date is a violation. (Check your State Laws)
The Free Car Seat Safety Check Events take place in April and September each year at the Bowling Green Fire Department and Training Center.
If your current car seat is expired, recalled, damaged and/or missing parts or pieces. Our Child Passenger Safety Technicians will educate caregivers and replace the seat FREE of charge!
Our online registration link will go live early April: http://carseatsafetymatters.com/event-registration/
*Registration is required
So how is this happening? According to a TIME Magazine article, it is not the neglectful parent that forgets their child in the car. It is happening to parents that are loving and care for their children. However these parent’s minds are fatigued, stressed, and distracted. The brain’s “habit” memory overrides the “prospective” memory, and parents are innocently forgetting their children in vehicles. In other cases, children have been playing in the vehicle and become disoriented and thus unable to get out.
In Bowling Green, Kentucky the average temperature can range from 70 degrees to 78 degrees in the spring. While in the summer, temperatures can range from 86 degrees to 89 degrees. According to a study conducted by Jan Null, a professor at San Francisco University, at 70 degrees on a sunny day, the temperature inside a car can reach 104 degrees in a half hour. Within a full hour, those temps can rise to 113 degrees.
Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Children’s body temperatures can rise 3 to 5 times quicker than an adult. Once a person’s core body temperature reaches 107 degrees or more then cells are damaged and internal organs begin to shut down.
In the past 15 years, there have been 555 deaths of children due to vehicular heatstroke in the United States. 54% of those children were forgotten by a caregiver, 28% were playing in an unattended vehicle, and 17% were intentionally left in the vehicle by an adult. 74% of those children were 2 years old and younger. (* Data from San Jose State University)
How can we keep this from happening in the future? We should be educating parents to lock up their vehicle at every location, including at their home. If a child goes missing, always check the vehicle and the trunk first. Let your children know that the vehicle is not a place to play. Also, we should be educating and reminding parents of the dangers of leaving their children in the vehicle. We can do things such as placing a purse, cellphone, laptop, or one shoe in the back seat to remind us to open the back door to get this item when we reach our destination. Therefore, reminding us there is a child riding in the vehicle. Please do not leave your children in the vehicle unattended, not even for a minute!
Article provided by Safety Seat Services
According to Partners for Child Passenger Safety, more than 90% of 4 to 8-year-old children who were seriously injured in a crash were not restrained in a booster seat. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study shows that between 40% and 50% of 4 to 8 year old children in fatal crashes are totally unrestrained.
Seat belts alone are designed to fit the average adult and not small children. Therefore children at this age are not ready to use just a seat belt alone. Fact is, you could be putting a child at high risk for severe injuries and/or death if you transition them to a seat belt alone too soon. Booster seats are designed to lift children from the vehicle seat in order for the seat belt to fit properly. Children that are under 57 inches in height should be riding in a booster seat.
Once a child has exceeded the weight limit for their internal harness or exceeded the height for their car seat, they may now be ready to transition to a high back or no back booster seat. If your vehicle comes equipped with headrests, you may use either type of seat. If your vehicle does not have headrests, you will want to use a high back booster seat. Point being, your child needs some type of restraint for their head; the top of a high back booster or a built in headrest in the vehicle.
When your child is ready to transition to the booster seat stage, it is important that the child can wear the seat belt correctly and not slouch in their seat for the entire ride. Also, a booster seat must be used with a lap/shoulder belt. A booster seat is not designed and/or allowed to be used with a lap only seat belt. The lap portion of the seat belt should lay flat across the hips. The shoulder portion of the seat belt should fit snug across the collar bone. Do not allow your child for any reason to place the shoulder portion of their seat belt behind their back or under their arm.
This article was provided by Safety Seat Services.