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Cohen Children’s Participates in Child Passenger Safety Week

Cohen Children’s Participates in Child Passenger Safety Week

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When it comes to installing a child safety seat, parents should never hesitate to seek help from an expert.

“With so many different cars and so many differently shaped car seats, parents get confused. It explains why four out of five child safety seats are improperly installed,” said Debbie Riccardi, DNP, the director of Community Health Nursing at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

“When in doubt, parents should check with a child passenger safety technician.”

As part of national Child Passenger Safety Week, Cohen Children’s -- located at 269-01 76th Avenue in New Hyde Park -- is providing free car seat installation instruction Tuesday, 10 a.m. to noon, in the lobby of the medical center and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday in Cohen Children’s general pediatrics area.

To further assist parents, the medical center offers monthly car seat safety checks in the visitor parking garage. Additional car seat fitting stations are located across Long Island and New York City.

“At Children’s, I see too many children come to us after car crashes with injuries that we know were preventable,” Dr. Riccardi said. “By instructing parents and caregivers on the proper measures for keeping children safe in a vehicle, we know we can prevent injury.

“Child Passenger Safety Week helps raise awareness in the community that child passenger safety is still an important issue that needs to stay on the forefront,” she added.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children aged 12 and under in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proper car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants aged under 1 by 71% and to toddlers, aged 1 to 4, by 54%. For children 4 to 8, booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45%, when compared with seat belt use alone, the CDC reports.

One of the more common child passenger safety mistakes parents and caregivers make is moving an infant or toddler “from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing postion too soon,” Riccardi said. The CDC recommend tots aged 2 and under remain in a rear-facing seat. Not doing so puts the children at significantly greater risk for neck and head injuries, Riccardi said.

Many children are shifted too quickly from a booster seat into seat belt use alone, Riccardi said. A child passenger should be big enough for the lap section of the seatbelt to rest on his or her lap and not the child’s abdomen. In such instances, children can suffer severe soft tissue damage or slip out of the seat belt in even a minor car wreck.    

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