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New recommendations made for child car seat use

Prompted by concern that children may be at risk during motor vehicle accidents, New Jersey state authorities have passed new recommendations regarding the use of child car safety seats on Sept. 19.

Car accidents are the number one reason for fatalities in children 12 years old and younger. In 2009, car crashes took the lives of 754 children ages 12 or under. Forty-two percent of those who died were found to be sitting unrestrained (in cases where data was available). The new safety guidelines mandate that all kids over the age of one should remain in a rear-facing seat until they outgrow it. This, it is believed, is necessary to provide support for the child's spine, head, and neck. Parents are urged to obtain child car safety seats designed for children of higher height and weight.

After a child outgrows such weight and height limits, authorities recommend that they then be placed in a front-facing child safety seat. Finally, when they grow even more, they can be seated in a booster seat. Regardless of which type of seat they are in, however, children should always be placed in the rear seat of a vehicle, and properly buckled in.

The importance of following these recommendations was underscored by statistics from the National Traffic Safety Administration indicating that 75% of all children are in danger due to their parents failing to use available car seats in the proper manner. The statistics also show that the risk of death in car crashes can be reduced by 54 percent for children ages one to four through the use of child safety car seats.

Source: njtoday.com, "Officials Announce New Child Safety Seat Guidelines," Sep 21, 2011.

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