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Carseats: Safety for the little ones out there

Parents usually do what they perceive to be important to assure the safety of their children. There are so many things to consider. Sometimes, though, there just aren’t enough resources available to them to provide everything the child needs. There isn’t any reason for a young child in the county to not have a car seat as the Columbiana County Health Department may be able to offer a helping hand.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov) advises, “Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash, yet car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1-13. That’s why it’s so important to choose and use the right car seat correctly every time your child is in the car.”

The Ohio Buckles Buckeyes (OBB) car seat program has been a part of the services provided to families in the county by the health department for a number of years. Two staff members are certified car seat technicians who provide free car seat inspections for families that already have a car seat of car seats families already have and who are concerned about the proper installation and safety of their child’s car seat. Inspections are for anyone at no charge. It is recommended to call the health department to schedule an appointment for car seat inspections or installations.

For WIC-income eligible families who do not have car seats, they can obtain a car seat at no cost to them simply by participating in the car seat class which takes about an hour. The class includes watching a 30-minute video that explains the transition phases of the car seat and the proper installation.

The transition phases include when the car seat should be rear-facing and when to move it to forward-facing, booster seats, and when to use the seat of the car with the seatbelt.

The child’s age, height and weight are used to determine which car seat or booster seat is the right fit for the child. The custodial parent/s should call the health department, 330-424-0272, to schedule a time to take the class.

The NHTSA recommends:

— Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, then choose a seat that fits in your vehicle, and use it every time.

— Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions (check height and weight limits) and read the owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether, if available.

— To maximize safety, keep your child in the seat as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.

— Keep your child in the backseat at least through age 12.

The car seat program is funded by the Ohio Department of Health’s OBB program. The county health department supplements funding when there is a need. Available car seats are limited.

To schedule a place in the next car seat class, contact the Columbiana County Health Department, 7360 State Route 45, Lisbon; phone, 330-424-0272. You can visit the web site at columbiana-health.org.

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