Tips for keeping car seats safe

Tips for keeping car seats safe

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Deanie Wimmer reportingMost parents assume their children are safe if they're traveling in a car seat, but kids may still be at risk, judging by a trend Deanie discovered at many car seat clinics.

Many babies arrive at clinics in the infant carriers, but like so many adults, babies these days are getting bigger -- so much bigger, they weigh too much for the appropriate age car seat.

The American Academy of Pediatrics raised a red flag months ago. Technicians say they see it in up to 70 percent of family cars.

May Romo, with the Safe Kids Salt Lake County, said, "We're seeing at more and more checkpoints, children are heavier than they were probably 5 or 10 years ago."

Eleven-month-old Anton, for example, is too heavy for an infant seat, but he's not old enough to face forward. It was the same situation in the next car.

Moms at the clinic said the safety of their babies is the most important thing and that's why they were there. Manufacturers are responding to the trend; they are making car seats that accommodate heavier children. But they cost a lot more and are harder to find.

In addition to the weight concern, many parents have outdated or used car seats, where they don't know the history. Car seats are only good for six years. That's why health departments sponsor the clinics, so parents won't have a false sense of security with their child buckled in back.

Advocates at Transport Canada also say you shouldn't put your kids in big, puffy coats and buckle them in. All the padding will compress in a crash, and the harness won't be tight enough. Rather, take off the coat and keep kids warm with a blanket.

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