Watch where you put that car seat.
Many child car seat injuries happen outside of your car.
The other day, I took my 8 year old to the pediatrician for what turned out to be a painful case of swimmer’s ear. While waiting with all three of my boys, I had a nice conversation with the nurse. In discussing child safety issues, she mentioned the number of child injuries her office sees as a result of parents leaving infant car seats on tables and other areas.
Unsecured child car seats are a major cause of child injury.
According to a recent article in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, using car seats outside of the car is dangerous for infants. Over 43,000 child injuries involving infants in car seats not secured in automobiles were treated in emergency rooms from 2003 to 2007. The most common causes of child injury were “infants falling from car seats, car seats falling from elevated surfaces and car seats overturning on soft surfaces.”
- Don’t put a car seat on a table, chair, or sofa while at home.
- Don’t follow the advice of the “baby whisperer” types who recommend placing the car seat on top of a running washing machine to help put the kid to sleep.
- Shopping carts can be perilous, too; the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against putting the car seat on top of a shopping cart, despite those nifty slots on the bottom of the baby bucket that invite that.
- Avoid the temptation to put the car seat on the tailgate or roof of the car in parking lots.
- Put babies in a playpen or crib if you need to keep them safe from pets or siblings. Use a car seat only as a travel device.
As parents, we need to remember that certain safety devices may only be safe for their specific and intended use. Car seats, clearly, should only be used for travel – and not as substitutes for cribs, playpens, or rockers.
Ken Levinson is a Chicago-based child injury attorney and child safety advocate. He believes any injured child is one too many. If your child has been injured or worse please contact Ken by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.