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Doc Talk | Car seat safety and regulations

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Child car seats are not what they used to be.

Over the years, the regulations have changed and the seats have become more advanced to keep children safe.

Car seats nowadays can be so complicated that many new parents need help figuring out how to properly install them in their cars.

But those who work in trauma at the Geisinger Holy Spirit, research shows they are extremely effective at keeping children from harm’s way in case of a crash.

No matter the intensity of a car crash, car seats are more durable now than ever before.

“The more knowledge we have and the more evidence and research that goes into these crashed, kids are our future and our goal is to keep these kids safe,” said Rebekkah Stanko, the Geisinger Holy Spirit Trauma Prevention and Outreach coordinator.

That’s why regulations about car seats are constantly changing.

Now children are supposed to be in rear-facing car seats until the age of two.

“Children are safest when they’re rear-facing just because they’re so well contained in those seats,” Stanko said.

After that, they can use front-facing car seats.

Once they grow out of those, they are urged to sit in booster seats until they can comfortably sit in a seat with a regular adult seatbelt.

How do you know when that is?

“Are they tall enough in the adult seat? Is the belt hitting them at the right place? Is it hitting them in their shoulder and not hitting into their neck? Are they able to sit up and sit still in the seat?” said Stanko.

The child seats themselves are no joke.

“Children seats for smaller children before they reach the size of the booster seat have a 5-point harness,” said Stanko.

Those harnesses strap in children at the hips, collarbone and across the chest.

“These car seats are making a major impact, so that’s why they’re changing the regs for them,” said Stanko.

Geisinger Holy Spirit is hosting a car seat safety check on Tuesday May 15 at the hospital from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

It’s free and no appointments are necessary.

You can find more information here.

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