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What Guidelines do I need to Follow When it Comes to Car Seats? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What Guidelines do I need to Follow When it Comes to Car Seats?

When it comes to buying car seats, there isn't a lack of options. With so many choices though, how do parents know which picks are the best? 

"It's really more about weight and the child's personal strength that it is anything else," said Dr. Margo Gill, a family physician at Forest Lakes Family Medicine.  

Dr. Gill says the best advice is to keep your kids in their car seats as long as possible.  

"The longer you can keep them in rear facing, and then the longer you can keep them in forward facing, and the longer you can keep them in a high back boosters, is definitely going to incur more safety for the child." 

Typically, rear-facing seats are recommended for children until they are two, or reach the highest weight allowed by the manufacturer.  After that, it's on to a forward facing car seat.  Eventually, kids will graduate to a booster seat, and Dr. Gill says all children need to be in some type of booster system until they are at least four feet, nine inches.  

"The issue has to do with how cars are designed," commented Dr. Gill.  "We want all kids to have some sort of chest belt, not just the lap belt because the chest belt is what helps improve safety issues. When they're too short the belt is coming across their neck and can actually cause more problems."  

When it comes to installing the seats, many local fire departments will assist, or provide a double check that you did it correctly so that you can drive with a clear mind, and know your kids are buckled up properly.  

For more information on this topic, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.  

The following links also provide helpful information:

American Academy of Pediatrics

HealthyChildren.Org  

If you have a health question you'd like for us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com.

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