Rules of the Road: Carseat Safety

6:44 PM, Jul 13, 2011   |    comments
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The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated its guidelines for child safety seats. 

The most significant change is the age limit for keeping kids in rear facing car seats. 

Linda Leonard had precious cargo in her SUV when she went to get her 7-month old grandson, Landon's safety seat checked by a certified technician at the City of Knoxville's Safety City. "He's my grandson and I want to make sure we do the right thing," said Leonard. 

Vicki Dagnan with the Knoxville Police Department made sure Leonard is doing the right think by checking the new guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

"Children should remain rear-facing up until the age of two or to the upper limit of the seat that they're traveling in," explained Dagnan. 

Traveling safely for Landon and other babies also means making sure the seat doesn't move more than an inch at the belt path. Harnes straps should fit tight, the chest clip should be at armpit level and the baby's body should be scooted up in the seat.

10News Producer Caroline Lamar's 22-month-old daughter Allie has a different kind of seat because she is older. Fitting guidelines are the same, but Dagnan had a surprise for Lamar. Her car seat was expired.

"Despite some stains, I thought it was fine. But she says just like a car dashboard can break down, so can the plastic in the car seat," said Lamar.

Dagnan said seats should only be used for five years. Older children are also required by Tennessee State Law to travel in safety seats. 

"You want to have a child riding in a booster seat until they're at least 9 years of age or 4'9," said Dagnan.

For both Leonard and Lamar, the most important thing is knowing their loved ones are safe. 

The Knoxville Police Department offers free car seat check points throughout the year. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, September 10th.

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