Child passenger safety – guidanc

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					A Safe & Sound® Publication from Merastar Insurance Company                                             VOL. 18. No. 1

Child passenger
  safety – guidance for
                                    All children ages 12 and under should be properly
                                    restrained in a back seat on every trip
                                    When Consumer Reports published and later retracted a negative review of many
                                    infant safety seats, some parents were alarmed and confused. Did they have the right
                                    safety seat for their child? Did they need to purchase a new one? Is putting a child in
                                    an unsafe seat more dangerous than driving with an unrestrained child? The American
                                    Academy of Pediatrics offers this advice:

                                     Continue to use car safety seats on every trip for every child.

                                     Carefully read and follow the car safety seat and vehicle manufacturer’s
                                       instructions for your brand of car seat.

                                     The best seat is one that fits your child, fits your vehicle, and is used correctly
                                       on every trip.
Certified child passenger
                                    Car safety seats are highly effective in reducing deaths and injury due to motor vehicle
safety technicians are trained      crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administation (NHTSA),
in installing car safety seats      car safety seats are 71% effective in reducing deaths for infants and 54% effective in
                                    reducing deaths for children ages 1
properly and can help parents
                                    to 4 years. Belt-positioning booster
make sure their children are as     seats reduce the risk of injury by
                                                                                  CONTENTS . . .
safe as possible on the road. To    59% for children ages 4 through

find an inspection station, visit   7 years.
                                                                                  2   Child Passenger Safety
                                       For more information:, or call toll-
free at 866/SEATCHECK –
                                               3   Shopping for a safer car
(866) 732-8243.                                                                   4   Keeping kids safe from falls
When do
                                                             Child passenger safety
you use a                                                          a Parent’s Primer
   booster seat?                                             Choose and use the right restraint
                                                             As children grow, how they sit in your car, truck or SUV should change. Protect
Safety belts are not designed for children. By the
                                                             your child by observing all four steps:
age of 4, many children are too big for toddler

seats but too small for adult safety belts. A booster                   Rear-facing infant seats – Infants should ride in rear-facing
seat raises your child up in the passenger seat so                      safety seats until they are at least one year old and weigh more
the safety belt fits correctly and can provide better                   than 20 pounds. Rear-facing infant seats should never be placed in
protection. The shoulder belt should cross the                          a forward-facing position and should never be positioned in the path
child’s chest and rest snugly on the shoulder, and                      of the front seat airbag. Air bags can cause serious injury or death
the lap belt should rest low across the pelvis or                       to children, especially infants in rear-facing child seats.
hip – never across the stomach.
                                                                        The harness clip should be positioned at the child’s mid-chest or level
                                                             with the armpit. This keeps the shoulder straps in the correct position. Harness
Children who have outgrown child safety seats
                                                             straps should be snug and straight. The infant seat should be positioned at
should be properly restrained in booster seats
                                                             approximately a 45-degree angle and placed in the back seat.
until they are at least 8 years old or more than
4 ft. 9 in. tall.                                            Children should never be wrapped in a blanket or other bulky garments before
                                                             being strapped in. Instead, after the infant has been secured, place blankets
What kinds of booster seats                                  over the harness straps.

are available?                                                           Forward-facing toddler seats – After the age of one, children
There are three types of belt-positioning booster
                                                                         should remain in the back seat in forward-facing toddler seats to
seats. All raise your child higher in the passenger
                                                                         about age 4 and 40 pounds.
seat so the vehicle safety belt fits better.

 One high-back type provides head and                                   Booster seats – About age 4, children should remain in the back
    neck support for your child if your vehicle seat                     seat in booster seats to at least age 8 or until they are 4 ft. 9 in. tall.
    back does not have a head rest. It must be                           Always use the lap/shoulder belt combination with a booster seat.
    used with the vehicle’s lap shoulder belt, never                     Never use the lap belt only.
    with the lap belt only.

                                                                         Safety belts – Children age 8 or older or taller than 4 ft. 9 in. should
 Another high-back, a combination
                                                                         ride in the back seat secured by a safety belt. They should sit straight
    seat, converts from a forward-facing toddler
                                                                         against the back. Shoulder belts should fit snugly across the chest.
    seat to a booster seat and comes equipped
                                                                         Never place the shoulder belt behind a child’s back or under the
    with a harness. This type can be used as a
                                                                         arm. The lap belt should fit snug and low over the upper thighs.
    forward-facing toddler seat when your child
                                                                                                                                       For more information:
    is age 1 and at least 20 pounds to about age                                ;; nsc.
    4 and 40 pounds. When your child outgrows                                                                   org/traf/ (go to “quick links”)

    the toddler seat, remove the harness and use
    the seat as a booster with the vehicle’s lap/                                            Remember! All children age 12
    shoulder belt.
                                                                                              and under should be properly
 The ”no-back” belt-positioning booster
    seat is used with a lap/should belt and should                                                     restrained and ride
    only be used in vehicles with built-in head                                                           in the back seat.
                     For more information:

                                                                                                                         SaferTimes® – page 2
                             Shopping for a
                                                                  So you’ve decided to                 Top Safety Pick
                                                                  buy a car, minivan,
                                                                  SUV or pickup. If
                                                                                                       award winners
                                                                                                       These models afford the best protection
                                                                  you’re like most
                                                                                                       in front, side, and rear crashes, based on
                                                                  consumers, you                       Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
                                                                  want to know which                   (IIHS) tests. Another requirement, new
                                                                                                       for 2007, is that a Top Safety Pick must be
                                                                  are the safest.
                                                                                                       equipped with electronic stability control,
Start by recognizing that safety involves avoiding crashes and protecting you if and when              standard or optional. This criterion reflects
a crash occurs. All vehicles have basic features to reduce the likelihood of a crash, but              IIHS research indicating that electronic
some include innovative technologies to help avoid crashes, such as features to alert you              stability control reduces serious crashes
if you stray from your travel lane or warn you if you’re about to back into something.                 by helping drivers maintain control when
                                                                                                       their vehicles might otherwise spin out.
Crash Avoidance
                                                                                                        Large car
    Electronic Stability Control – Known by a variety of tradenames, these
                                                                                                          Audi A6 (December 06 and later)
systems are extensions of antilock brake technology to help drivers regain control of
their vehicles. For example, if a driver enters a curve too fast, the vehicle may begin to              Midsize cars
spin out. Electronic stability control engages automatically to help bring the vehicle back               Audi A4
in the intended line of travel.                                                                           Saab 9-3
                                                                                                          Subaru Legacy
Crash Worthiness                                                                                          (equipped with optional electronic stability control)

    Size and weight – The first crashworthy attributes to consider are size and                         Minivans
weight. Small, light vehicles generally offer less protection than larger, heavier ones.                  Hyundai Entourage
There’s less structure to absorb the crash energy, so deaths and injuries are more likely                 Kia Sedona
to occur in both single- and multiple-vehicle crashes. However, weight doesn’t tell the
                                                                                                        Luxury SUVs
whole story because some models have more crashworthy designs. So buy a vehicle in
                                                                                                          Mercedes M class
your chosen class size with good front, side and rear crashworthiness ratings.
                                                                                                          Volvo XC90
    Design – A good structural design means a strong occupant compartment (safety
cage), crumple zones to absorb the force of a serious crash, and side structure that can                Midsize SUVs
manage the force of a striking vehicle or struck object.                                                  Acura RDX
    Restraint systems are becoming more sophisticated. Force limiters can reduce                          Honda Pilot
the chances of a rib injury from the belt itself. Advanced frontal airbags have inflation                 Subaru B9 Tribeca
characteristics geared to specific crash circumstances. Make sure the side airbags are                  Small SUVs
designed to protect people’s heads, not just the chest and abdomen. Some are also                         Honda CR-V
designed to protect people in rollover crashes. Seat/head restraints are also key in                      Subaru Forester
helping reduce whiplash injury in rear impact collisions.                                                 (equipped with optional electronic stability control)

                                                                                                                                           For more information:
Factor safety into your decision to purchase a vehicle. You don’t have to give up style for                           
safety. You can have both.
                                               For more information:

                                                                                                                         SaferTimes® – page 3
                                                                                         Keeping kids safe
                                                                                               preventing falls
                                                                                         Tips from the National Safety Council
             For a free                                                                  A home may represent a haven of safety and security, but for young children,
                                                                                         it can also be a minefield of potentially dangerous falls.

            no-obligation                                                                 Falls from furniture – Don’t leave babies alone on beds, changing tables
                                                                                            or sofas. Always strap children into highchairs and strollers.

               auto or                                                                    Falls from heights – Don’t let children play alone on fire escapes, high

           home/renters                                                                     porches or balconies.

                                                                                          Slips and falls on floor surfaces – Secure area rugs – especially on

          insurance quote                                                                   wood, ceramic tile or linoleum floors – with a piece of foam carpet backing,
                                                                                            double-sided tape or a rubber pad.

                                                                                          Falls on stairs – Keeps stairs clear. Use safety gates if you have an

         1-800-Merastar                                                                     infant or toddler. Attach the gate to the wall at the top of the stairs. Avoid
                                                                                            accordion gates with large openings – a child’s neck can get caught.

                                                                                          Window falls – Keep windows locked when children are around. When
                                                                                            opening windows for ventilation, open windows that children cannot
                 (1-800-637-2782)                                                           reach. Set and enforce rules about playing near windows or patio doors.
                                                                                            Falling through the glass can cause serious injury and sometime be fatal.

             Offer Code: STN                                                                Keep furniture – or anything children can climb – away from windows.
                                                                                            Never depend on an insect screen to keep your child from falling.
                                                                  Unguarded windows opened only five inches pose a danger to children
                                                                                            under ten. In some cities, landlords are required by law to place window
                                                                                            guards in apartments where children live, such guards prevent windows
                                                                                            from being opened wide enough for children to crawl through.

                                                                                          In the bathroom – Always use a rubber mat or slip resistant stickers in
                                                                                            the tub. Never leave a child unattended in the bath. Should they slip and
                                                                                                                  fall, they may be unable to cry for help.
        The specialist in providing
         auto and home insurance                                                                                              For more information:

       to groups for over 30 years.™
                                                                                                                   Dangers that are obvious to adults
          Merastar Insurance Company
                                                                                                                        are not necessarily apparent
    P.O. Box 181101 • Chattanooga, TN 37414
                                                                                                                        to children. They need extra
Coverage underwritten by Merastar Insurance Company, Chattanooga, TN 37411. In Texas,
homeowners by Consolidated Lloyds, and in New Jersey, auto by New Jersey Skylands and                             guidance and an ever-vigilant eye.
homeowners by OneBeacon, which are not Merastar companies. Availability of coverage,
payment options, online quotes and discounts may vary by state. In some states a home
inspection may be required to obtain a quote. Merastar and Safe & Sound are registered
service marks of Merastar Insurance Company.
                                                                                                                                                SaferTimes® – page 4

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