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Edwardsville Firefighters Local 1700

Edwardsville Fire Fighters Local 1700 Members

Is Your Child At Risk?

Every day, children sustain serious injuries and die in motor vehicle crashes. Many of these injuries and deaths can be avoided with the correct use of child safety seats and safety belts. However, many adults are unaware they are using the safety restraint incorrectly, thereby placing their chid at risk. Many safety experts believe that between 80 percent to 90 percent of child safety seats are installed and/or used incorrectly.

Because children are not small adults, they need special protection when traveling in motor vehicles. Their bodies are very different from ours. Their skulls are more fragile, theirs heads are proportionately larger, their rib cage is thinner, and they're shorter.

Types of Child Safety Restraints

Infant Seats.

Infant seats are designed for babies from birth until at least 20 pounds and one year of age. They must ride rear-facing in their safety seats until they are at the appropriate size/age to move to ...

Convertible Safety Seats.

These seats convert from rear-facing for infants to forward-facing for toddlers weighing at least 20 pounds. Children should remain in a forward-facing seat from 20 pounds until they reach approximately 40 pounds and four years of age. Then they should graduate to ...

Booster Seats.

These seats are used as a transition to safety belts by older kids who have clearly outgrown their convertible seat and are not quite ready for the vehicle belt system.

Safety Belts.

When a child is old enough and large enough to "fit" an adult safety belt, they can be moved out of a booster seat. To "fit" a safety belt properly, the lap belt should fit snugly and properly across the upper thighs and the shoulder strap should cross over the shoulder and across the chest.

How Child Restraints Work

Babies, toddlers and young children are physiologically different from adults, teenagers and even older children. Because of their small stature and because their musculoskeletal systems are not fully developed, seat belts cannot provide a proper and safe means of restraining young children in the event of a crash. Safety seats are engineered to provide the added protection children require.

Child safety restraints provide a "ride-down" benefit during rapid deceleration. If properly installed, child restraints work to allow the child's body to stop as the vehicle is slowing, reducing the forces on the child's body and preventing contact with hard surfaces inside the vehicle, with other occupants, the road, or other vehicles.

Child safety seats also act to spread crash forces over a broad area of the body, thereby reducing forces on any particular part of the body, and distributing these forces to the strongest parts of the skeleton (hips, back and shoulders).

What You Can Do ...

Never place an infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. The force of the deploying air bag will hit the seat (because of its close proximity to the dashboard) and can seriously injure or kill an infant. Remember: All infant seats must be rear-facing, so the only safe place to install it is in the back seat.

Children should ride properly restrained in the back seat whenever possible. Children are much safer (approximately 29 percent) the farther they are from the point of impact -- most commonly a frontal crash.

It is critical that both the shoulder and lap portion of the safety belt be used. However, if the best system does not fit properly the child should be secured in a child restraint.

If a child must be seated in the front seat, always move the vehicle seat as far back as possible (particularly with a passenger-side air bag).

Be a role model. Always buckle up.

The Edwardsville Fire Department provides child passenger safety seat checks at the fire department by appointment. To set-up an appointment to have your child safety seat checked, call the fire department at 692-7546, and ask for a child passenger safety technician

When should child safety seats be replaced or destroyed?

• Child safety seats that are more than 6 years old should be replaced. Normal wear and tear may cause the seat to not work as well as it did when it was new. Newer child safety seats also have improved safety designs and improvements in ease of use. Child safety seats may have also suffered from exposure to heat, sunlight, water, or severe cold over the years. Even when stored in an attic or basement, it is impossible to know what adverse effects this exposure has had on the child safety seat.

• A child safety seat that was used in a vehicle during a moderate or severe crash should not be used again; it should be destroyed. Regardless of how the seat looks or how old it is, possible unseen damage may make the seat less effective in a second crash and cause injury to a child.

• NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.

• A seat that was involved in a minor crash are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:

The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;

The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;

There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;

The air bags (if present in the vehicle) did not deploy; AND

There is no visible damage to the safety seat

• Additional information regarding this can be found on the NHTSA website,

• Do not use a child safety seat that does not have labels on it. You need to know the manufacturers name, model number and date of manufacturer in order to determine if the seat has been recalled, or how old it is.

• A child safety seat may be “recalled” by the manufacturer because of a defect which could injure a child. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem free of charge. If your seat is recalled, it should be fixed right away.

The Edwardsville Fire Department has been working with the community to promote child passenger safety. A couple ways we have been doing this is:

• Providing Child Passenger Safety Seat checks at the fire department by appointment.

• Working with the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce, by providing Child Passenger Safety brochures that are sent out with the Chambers Greeter Service Packet, sent to new residents.

• Providing information to second-hand, resell-it shops on the hazards of reselling used and potentially unsafe child safety seats.

Child Passenger Safety Seat Technicians at work.

Local 1700 represents the paid career fire fighters of the Edwardsville Fire Department. We are a member of the IAFF, the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI) and the Metro East Professional Fire Fighters Association (MEPFFA).

Our Favorite Web sites

Angelfire Home Pages
International Association of Firefighters
Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois
IAFF Locals on-line
Edwardsville Fire Department
Union Fire Fighters Website
FF/EMTP Mike Picchioldi's webpage