Kids & Healthy Bodies: Lighten Up

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car-seat conundrums – answered!

Seems like making the transition between car seats should be clear cut – but too often, it’s not. In time for road trips this month, here are answers to your four top concerns:

kidshlth_carseat.png My little butterball is 9 months old and already weighs 25 pounds. Can I keep him in his infant seat until he turns 1?
Only if you have an infant seat designed to hold babies heavier than the standard 20 to 22 pounds, says Lorrie Walker, training manager and technical adviser for Safe Kids Worldwide. Otherwise, it’s time for a convertible model that will keep him in the rear-facing position.

I’m dying to turn my baby forward so I can see her when I’m driving. How soon can I do this?
She should remain turned around until she’s at least 1 year and 20 pounds. And that’s the minimum: Experts now advise keeping kids rear-facing as long as possible; this position offers the best protection for your child’s head, neck and spine in the event of a crash.

It’s expensive to buy an infant seat, then a convertible seat, then a booster. Is there another option?
Some parents opt to buy a convertible seat to use rear-facing right off the bat; and given that many go up to 35 pounds, you can get some serious mileage out of it. Another option is to buy a combination seat after he outgrows his infant one. These seats can only be used in the forward position (a drawback if your child isn’t big enough yet), but the upper weight limits range from 40 to 65 pounds for use with a five-point harness. After that, you can use the seat as a belt-positioning booster until your child is 80 – 100 pounds.

My 9-year-old complains about riding in her booster seat. When can we ditch it?
It’s safest for your child (embarrassed or not) to remain in a booster until she’s at least 8 years old and 4 feet 9 inches tall, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When she meets those guidelines, she can go booster-free. But don’t forget: She stays in the backseat until she’s 13. Many local police and fire departments will do a safety check on your car seat, tugging on straps till they’re snug and safe (or completely reinstalling the seat if it’s really off). To find additional car-seat checkpoints, call toll-free 866-732-8243 or visit www.seatcheck.org.

Many young children are prone to motion sickness. To keep tummies calm in the air or on the road, follow these steps from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Talk to your pediatrician about motion-sickness treatments that are appropriate for toddlers, such as Dramamine, and administer them to your child half an hour to an hour before you travel. Skin-patch remedies are unsafe for young children.
  • If your child has not eaten in a few hours, give her a light snack before your trip.
  • Since focusing on sights that are farther away seems to stave off nausea, make sure your child can get a good view of her surroundings.
  • Avoid reading stories to your child. This would direct her gaze downward and could make her nauseated and carsick.
  • Make frequent pit stops so your child can get some fresh air and walk around.

HOT CAR ALERT!

The National Safe Kids Campaign urges parents to keep children safe around cars. NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN ALONE in a parked car on a hot day even for a second.

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