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Safety restraints, car seats protect young travelers

Sun Advocate reporter

Southeastern Utah Health District representative Georgina Nowak demonstrates how to properly install a child safety restraint seat.

Car seats are often times only associated with infants and toddlers.

The fact is, however, that older children, sometimes up to the age of 9 may need a booster seat in order to be protected properly from injury while riding in a motor vehicle.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, approximately 1,800 children ages 14 years old and younger are killed in automobile accidents and more than 280,000 young passengers are injured each year.

Therefore, it is extremely important to properly restrain children every time they ride in a motor vehicle.

It is particularly important for Carbon County parents to be aware that older children should also be restrained by using booster seats.

The common misconception is that a child is too big for a small car seat, therefore a regular lap and shoulder belt will do.

But the assumption is wrong explained Southeastern Utah Health District safety expert Georgina Nowak.

"Many parents think that just because their child outgrows one car seat, that they are ready for a regular seat belt. The fact is, that children under four feet, nine inches need to be in a booster seat," Nowak stated.

The criteria for booster seats according to the local health department are as follows:

•If youngsters are shorter than four feet nine inches tall and weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, they should be riding in a booster seat.

Usually, children need booster seats until they are about nine years old.

•Children in booster seats should ride in the back seat of a motor vehicle and never in front of an airbag.

•Lap and shoulder belts must be used together to secure the child in a booster seat.

People should never use only the lap belt.

•Parents should never allow youngsters to place the shoulder belt behind their back or under an arm. Injury or death could result.

•The lap belt should fit across the hips or thighs, not across the stomach.

The shoulder belt should fit across the chest, not the neck.

•High-back and low-back booster seats help to prevent injury.

Nowak reminded Carbon County residents that the public health department in Price offers assistance in determining what booster seat is right for an individual child.

The local health agency also has several workers who are trained and certified in inspecting car and booster seat placement and use.

It is extremely important to protect Castle Valley children, emphasized the public health department.

Parents can start by properly restraining children every time the youngsters ride in an automobile.

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