Child Safety

Child safety seats can reduce the risk of a potentially fatal injury by 69% for babies younger than 1 year old and by 47% for 1- to 4-year-old children. Yet 80% of all safety seats are used incorrectly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

When choosing any car seat, there are important general

Infant-only seats are designed to protect babies from birth until they reach 20 pounds (sometimes more, depending on the model). They always face toward the rear. Infant-only seats often fit a newborn baby best and can be the optimal choice if you have the resources to buy another seat when your child grows larger. Many infant-only safety seats are also very convenient, since they are designed to double as carriers, chairs, or rockers when not used in the car. Many models detach right from the base, allowing you to leave the base installed in the car.

A baby who weighs 20 pounds but has not yet reached 1 year of age should still ride in a rear-facing seat, because his neck is not strong

Convertible seats are designed to protect children from birth up to 40 pounds. Convertible seats are the only type of seats that are placed in different positions depending on your child\'s age: they face toward the rear until your baby is 20 pounds and 1 year old, and can be turned to face forward after that. (However, many of the convertible seats on the market allow a child to remain rear-facing up to 30-35 pounds.)

Booster Seats (Between 40 and 80 Pounds)
When your child reaches the maximum weight allowed for his car seat, or his ears have reached the top of the car seat, you\'ll need to switch to a booster seat. Booster seats are designed for children who have outgrown convertible safety seats but are still too small to be properly restrained by the vehicle\'s seat belts. Seven states have passed laws requiring booster seats for children up to 8 years old and 80 pounds.

Booster seats come in many styles. Belt-positioning boosters raise your child to a height where he can safely use the car\'s lap and shoulder belts. They come in high-back or backless models: high-back boosters are recommended when the car has low seat backs, and backless may be used if the child\'s head is supported up to the top of his ears by the vehicle\'s back seat or head rest.

There are a number of programs that can help you get started. One of the most popular is Eddie Eagle, a program of the National Rifle Association (NRA). It offers this four-step approach to gun safety:

o stop
o don\'t touch
o remove yourself from the area
o tell an adult
What\'s hardest for children to recognize that they must remove themselves from the area. Just stopping and not touching a gun themselves is not enough. Removing themselves from the area protects them from being harmed by a child who doesn\'t know not to touch. A child as young as 3 has the finger strength to pull a trigger. Some studies show that by age 8, 90% of children are capable of firing a gun.

Many children are raised with guns in the home, particularly if hunting is an important part of family recreation. Families who have guns in the home need to teach children to use guns safely and responsibly. To ensure the safest environment for your family:

o Take the ammunition out of the gun.
o Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of children.
o Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
o Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
o Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
This advice might seem obvious, but 39% of people who say they have guns do not lock them. Almost one third report keeping their unlocked guns loaded, arguing that difficult access to their gun would keep them from using it in self-defense.