Main Line Pediatrics

Safety for Infants and Children

Car Safety | Safety for Newborns: Ages 0 to 12 Months | Safety for Children: Ages 12 Months to 2 Years | Safety for Children: Over Age 2 | Poisoning | Emergency Aid for Choking Infants | Advice for Injury Prevention | Car Safety Seat |

Car Safety

To obtain information on car seat safety, you may call the toll-free Department of Transportation Vehicle Safety Hotline: 1-800-424-9393.

Your baby's safety is very important. Accidents are the leading cause of death and serious illness to children. Because of this, we make safety a primary concern.

First, it is the law in Pennsylvania that you seat your child in a car safety seat. You may not even take your child home from the hospital without such a seat. If you do not have an approved safety seat, the nursery will loan you a car seat until you can purchase one. We also have a list of federally-approved car seats, which gives additional information on prices and type of harness.

It is now recommended to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years of age or the upper height and weight limit for that car seat as recommended by the manufacturer. A forward-facing car seat is recommended until the upper weight limit of the seat. A booster seat is recommended until the child is 4 feet, 9 inches (8-12 years). It is not recommended that a child under the age of 13 years sit in the front passenger seat.

You should anchor the seat safely, as directed in the car seat's instruction manual. If you cannot do this yourself, have someone help you. A "safe" seat that is not anchored is not safe. Often the local police department will help you properly anchor your car seat.

If your child begins to fight the use of the car seat, check to see that the seat is comfortable for proper use. You should always insist that your child "buckle-up." Of course, set a good example for your child by buckling-up yourself.

In hot weather, make sure that the baby's skin doesn't touch metal buckles or straps in a car seat; they can burn the baby's skin quickly. Even the hot plastic on the car seat can burn your child, unless it is covered with a towel. Never leave a child unattended in a car, especially a hot car in the summer. Heat stroke can occur quickly.