Avera Medical Minute: Booster Seats - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Booster Seats

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Jeanne Bietz buckles 4 yr. old Phoebe Brown into a high-back booster seat. Jeanne Bietz buckles 4 yr. old Phoebe Brown into a high-back booster seat.

You would never feed your pre-schooler whiskey or encourage them to smoke so why is it that so many parents put their children's lives at risk in the car?  Many of you may not even know you are doing it.. The week of Sept. 21st is National Child Passenger Safety Week and it sounds like a lot of parents need some brushing up on buckling up their kids.

From infant to toddler to booster seats, Avera McKennan Car Seat Coordinator Jeanne Bietz says 90% of child seats are used incorrectly.

Jeanne says, "They aren't tightly installed in the vehicle and they aren't properly securing the child in the harness." 

Jeanne says the biggest violation is graduating your 4 year old to just the seat belt. Not only is that against the law in South Dakota, it is very dangerous.

Jeanne says, "When children aren't in a booster seat what they do in the regular seat is slouch down so their legs bend over the seat. In turn the lap belt rides up on their soft tissue of the tummy and the shoulder belt comes across the face. In a crash the lab belt compresses against the soft tissue and causes abdomen and internal injuries. For some reason people think 4 years old and 40 pounds is a magic number. It isn't. They need to still be restrained in a booster seat., either a high back one or no back one depending on your car and they may need to stay in it until 8 or 9 and 100 pounds."

My 4 year old step-daughter Phoebe Brown sits in a no-back booster in the backseat of my car. Jeanne says that type of booster works because I have head rests in the back. Phoebe always buckles up, but always puts the shoulder strap behind her head which is the worst thing she can do because of the risk of internal injuries and in the event of a car crash she would go flying into the driver's seat. If I scoot her over the belt rides over her shoulder and doesn't hit her in the neck and she is much less likely to put it behind her. The reason they do that is because the seat belt isn't hitting them right.

Jeanne, "If you can't adjust the shoulder restraint in your car, the high back booster is a good option because of the shoulder belt guides built in on it."

As a new step mom I'm quickly learning, I have a lot to learn. I would never want to jeopardize Phoebe's safety because of something as easy as a booster and a buckle. 

There is a free car seat check at Billion Automotive in Sioux Falls on Sunday September 28th from 12 to 4. If you ever have a question for the car seat experts call the Avera McKennan Car Seat Phone Line (605) 332-3485.

 There is also a car seat class offered at Avera McKennan on Oct. 2nd.


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