Breakpoint's Booster Seat and Burn Awareness Issue
Loyola University Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, Injury Prevention Program
More children are riding in safety seats than ever
before. Unfortunately, the misuse rate of child safety seats remains high. Many
parents are also forgetting a step- from car seat, to booster seat, then to seat
belt alone. Many parents have been securing their children with safety belt only
way before the child is ready. This is partly due to the vague statement in the
law. The common belief is that once a child reaches 4 years of age they can move
from a safety seat to a seat belt. The safest way to judge whether your child is
ready for a booster is by the weight of the child and the height and for some
children even their maturity level. This month Child Passenger Safety Week
(February 11-17) is observed. Breakpoint will provide articles to help parents
clarify the booster seat issue.
February also is a time when attention is brought to burn
prevention. National Burn Prevention Week, (February11-17). Burns are not only
painful but can be debilitating. Burns are also preventable! Many burns occur in
the kitchen and involve children and the elderly. Break Point will provide tips
to prevent scald injuries and effective ways to keep your home safer.
Break Point is produced by Loyola University, Burn and Shock
Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program.
Please call us at (708) 327-2455 or email to: Kathy
O'Day with any comments or questions.
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Buckle up your Valentine
In spite of the documented effectiveness of safety seats, many families still do
not use them. More than 60 percent of the children aged 0-5 years old who were killed in car crashes in 1998 were
not in safety seats. Although there are child safety seat laws in every state
and the District of Columbia, many "loopholes" exist in these laws.
Misuse of safety seats and booster seats is also a problem. In 1996, the National
Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), published the first national study on the
types of misuse of child safety seats, showing that about 80 percent of seats
are used incorrectly. Additional gains in safety for young children can be made by reducing the most dangerous types of
safety seat misuse.
Here are some guidelines to help keep your child safe while in the car:
- All children under 12 should ride in the back seat.
- Infants should ride in a rear-facing child safety seat until 20 pounds and at least one year of age.
Never put a child in a rear-facing or convertible safety seat in the front seat
of a vehicle with an active air bag.
- Children over one year and between 20–40 pounds can be in a
forward facing car seat with the harness straps in the upper slots.
- Children between 40-80 pounds should ride in a belt positioning
booster seat. The safety belt should rest across the shoulder and on the upper
thighs. Safety belts made for an adult do not fit children less than 80 pounds
and could cause more trauma in a crash.
- Read your car seat instruction manual for proper installation in
your vehicle. You should also refer to the owner’s manual of your car for any
additional information on proper fit of a car seat.
- Find a car seat fitting station near your home. A certified child
passenger safety technicians are available to check the car seat or booster seat
for recall information and can teach parents or caregivers proper safety seat
installation. Information on area
fitting stations can be obtained at the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration web site www.nhtsa.dot.gov
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Don't Skip a Step-When Your Child Outgrows Their Car Seat
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for
children 5 to 14 years of age. A fact that can be linked, at least in part, to
the reality that most kids are unbuckled or improperly restrained in vehicles.
When children out grow a forward-facing child safety
seat, they need to be restrained in a belt-positioning booster seat until they
are big enough to fit properly in an adult seat belt.
When a small child uses a safety belt designed for an
adult, the safety belt rides too high on the stomach and cuts across the neck.
In a crash, the safety belt could cause serious or fatal injuries. This is
called “seat belt syndrome”
The usage rate for booster seats by children who have
outgrown their convertible safety seats but who do not yet fit adult belts is
very low. In fact, a recent NHTSA survey indicated that more than 20 percent of
parents of young children have not even heard of booster seats. Among parents
who have heard of booster seats, nearly one-third report concerns about their
Here are some guidelines to help determine when a child
should move from a safety seat to a belt positioning booster seat or a seat belt
- The child has outgrown a convertible child safety seat. (when they
reach 40 pounds or 40 inches in height.
- A child who weighs between 40-80 pounds, or a child who is between
the ages of 4-8 years and at least 35 inches tall. Should be restrained in a
belt positioning booster seat.
- A child who can’t sit with their back against the vehicle seat
back cushion or who can’t sit with their knees over the vehicle seat edge
without slouching. A belt- positioning booster is recommended.
- It is always safest to keep your child in a forward-facing child
safety seat with a full harness as long as the child fits the seat. Some seat
manufacturers are increasing the maximum weight of the harness. Be sure to read
the instruction manual for the seat for height and weight specifications.
- If your child is under 4 years old but is too tall for a child
safety seat, it would be safer to purchase a seat with a higher backrest. Most
children under 4 years of age lack the maturity to stay in a belt- positioning
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What Belt-Positioning Booster is Best?
Although no one can say with certainty which booster seat
is best, one fact remains true; the safest booster seat is the one that fits
your child, one that fits your car and one that you will use each time you
There are several types of belt-positioning booster seats
on the market. They all should meet the National Highway Traffic Administration
Federal Standard FMVSS 213.
The types of booster seats on the market are:
- Belt-Positioning Booster- The child sits in the booster seat and uses the vehicle lap and shoulder belt
for restraint. Lap and shoulder belts together offer the best protection, better
than lap belts only. This type of booster seat is available in a high back or
- High back booster with a 5 point harness- When the harness is attached the seat can be used for children
20-40 pounds and uses the lap portion of the belt to install into the vehicle.
At 40 pounds, the harness is removed and the seat converts to a belt-positioning
booster seat using the vehicle lap and shoulder belt for restraint.
- Shield booster- Used with the shield, the booster seat is used for children between 30-40 pounds
using a lap only belt around the shield. This type of restraint is not
recommended. However, studies have shown that children are safest in a child
safety seat with a harness until at least 40 pounds. The shield booster may not
adequately restrain the upper portion of the body. In a crash the child could
suffer serious injuries.
- Shield booster with the shield removed- the shield booster becomes a backless booster seat when the
shield is removed. This type of booster seat meets federal standards and can be
used in vehicles with higher back seats. The child is restrained by the lap and
shoulder belt. The backless booster should never be used with a lap only seat
Always read the instruction manual that came with the
seat before installing a belt-positioning booster seat into your vehicle. Refer
to your vehicle owner’s manual for further instructions on installation of a
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Kitchen Safety - Keep Cool Around Hot Foods
Whether minor or serious, burns are painful. So we teach
our kids not to play with matches and tell them not to touch the stove. But
burns don't come only from open flames and hot objects. Liquids -- such as coffee, tea, soup
and even a hot bath -- can scald, causing serious burns. According to the Burn Prevention Foundation, scalds are the number one cause of burn injury to
children under age 4.
Many scalding injuries could be prevented with a little foresight. Take these
precautions to make your home safer.
In the Kitchen
- Never leave cooking unattended. Cook on the stove's rear burner
whenever possible and turn pot handles toward the rear of the stove, out of the
reach of young hands.
- Keep young children out of the kitchen when you’re handling hot
liquids. If possible, occupy toddlers in a playpen or a high chair, where they
can be easily supervised and restrained.
- Don't drink hot liquids while holding your child. Children move
fast and can easily bump your cup or bowl, spilling burning liquid onto them or
- Keep the cords short on appliances such as electric teapots and
deep-fat fryers; long cords can be tripped over or pulled.
- Don't use a tablecloth around young children, who may pull on it
and bring hot food down on themselves.
- Don't let the microwave mislead you. It may not get hot to the
touch, but the foods and liquids we cook in it can cause serious burns. So when
you use your microwave, remember to:
- Follow the printed instructions when microwaving packaged foods.
If the instructions say to not microwave the food, take the extra few minutes to
warm it conventionally.
- Remove the lid carefully when taking a dish out of the microwave.
The steam that has built up inside the dish can cause a scald burn.
- Don't let children use the microwave until they’re old enough to
follow directions and handle hot foods carefully. Even then, it’s best to
- Stir and test food before serving it to eliminate the "hot
spots" often caused by microwaved foods. This is especially important with
baby food. Don't use the microwave to warm a baby's bottle. The hot spots could scald the baby’s mouth.
In the Bathroom
Your hot water heater should be turned down as low as possible – it should never be
above 120 degrees F. (If you have a dishwasher, consult the operators manual for
the lowest effective water temperature setting.
Water at 133 degrees F can cause third-degree burns in just 15 seconds. Test the water. Never put a baby or child in a bathtub before testing the
water yourself. Test the water with your elbow or the back of your wrist -- not
your hand, which isn't as sensitive. Water temperature should be 100 degrees F or lower.
Never leave children unattended in the bath. Aside from the danger of drowning, your child
could receive a life-threatening scald in just a few seconds if he or she should
turn on the hot water. If a scald burn occurs, examine it to see what type of
burn it is. Your child may need to see a doctor immediately: Check the burn to see if the skin is intact and whether the burned area
hurts when touched.
The most serious burns are deeper ones with loss of skin and sensation. Seek emergency
treatment if you notice discoloration under extensive areas of peeling skin.
A first-degree burn leaves skin red and slightly swollen. Second- and third-degree
burns leave skin blistered and charred. These types of burns require immediate
medical attention. If the burn covers a large part of the body, seek medical
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Surf's Up- A guide To Internet Sites On The Web
Cool the Burn-A Site for Children Touched by a Burn
This web site is not only for children who have been
burned; it is for any child interested in burn prevention. There are burn safety
games, prevention tips and stories. Children who have been burned can also chat
on line with other children who have been burned and provide their own safety
message to other children.
(Children should have the permission and the supervision of
their parents when chatting on line)
Berks County Kids Safety House
This site has fun activity pages that make fire and burn
prevention fun for children. The Koolas Arcade teaches children to look for
hazards around the home and children can print the pages out to color. Parents
can help discuss the hazards with their children. There is also a parent’s
page that increases awareness of the importance of fire safety throughout the
The members of AZ Family brought together some of the most
helpful information on child-automotive safety they could find. You can learn
about air bag safety, what to look for when purchasing a car, the correct way to
install a car seat and more.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Click on injury prevention and then go to child
passenger safety. There are interesting articles that pertain to child passenger
safety and “A Parent’s Guide to Booster Seats”. This guide takes the
guesswork out of choosing the best booster seat for your child and answers many
questions parents have regarding installation and proper belt position for their
*It is important to note that children who have access to the Internet should get permission from their parents first. Parents should observe their children while they use the Internet to help them avoid dangerous situations while they surf.
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Coming Next Month in Injury Prevention
- National Poison Prevention Week (March 18-24)
The information on the Loyola University Health System
(LUHS) Web site is for educational purposes only. It is presented in summary form in order to impart general information relating to certain diseases, ailments, physical conditions and their treatments. The information provided through the LUHS Web site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease, nor is it a substitute for professional care. Should you have any health-care related questions or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
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