Be wary of used car seats. Be careful about using a car seat that belonged to someone else, it may have been damaged.
Always put your new baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of your car. The back seat is the safest place for all children to ride. It is estimated that children ages 12 and under are 36 percent less likely to die in a crash if they are sitting in the back seat.
Don't put your baby in front of a passenger-side air bag. Here's another reason to put your baby in the back seat. About 20 percent of children killed by passenger-side air bags are infants in rear-facing child seats in front of an air bag. If you absolutely must put your baby in the front seat, make sure the air bag is turned off.
Infants (babies under one year) should ride in a rear-facing seat at least until they weigh 20 pounds and are one year of age. If your child fits in a rear-facing seat, leave her there past one year. It's really the safest position and it offers the best protection for your baby's head, neck and back.
Use the car seat every time baby rides. If someone offers to take your baby out, make sure the car seat goes too. And make sure it is installed correctly in the back seat. No one plans to have an accident. Most crashes happen close to home on roads with low speed limits.
Don't use your baby as an airbag. Never, ever put your child in your lap in a car. No matter how tightly you hold your child, he or she will not be safe in a crash. The baby could fly through the windshield, hit the dashboard or be crushed by your body. Always put the baby in his or her car seat.
Never leave your baby in the car, even just for a moment. Sadly, many babies die each year because they were left in an overheated car, while Mom or Dad ran to do a quick errand. Cars can heat up fast in the hot sun and a baby can overheat quickly. Avoid this tragedy by taking your baby with you when you leave the car.
If you're not sure your car seat is installed correctly, get it checked out. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when you install the car seat. Then get it checked out. Visit the Safe Kids Web site to find an event near you where trained people will inspect your car seat and make sure it is installed and used correctly�free of charge. Some local police stations and hospitals also offer this service.
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