Mahaska Health Partnership Encourages Car Seat Safety
MAHASKA COUNTY – As parents and caregivers, there are many decisions to be made for your child, including what type of car seat is the safest for them. Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician Case Everett, MD, offers tips on keeping your child safe when travelling.
“Children riding in appropriate car seats is a best practice for their overall health,” Dr. Everett stressed. “It’s also the law in Iowa that children must be in an appropriate car seat until at least age six.”
When it comes to choosing the best car seat option for your child, knowing what will work best for your vehicle is the first step. “Not all car seats fit in all vehicles,” Dr. Everett explained. “Refer to the car seat manual and vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure whatever seat you choose will fit properly and safely. Once you choose a seat, install it per the instructions in the backseat, ensuring a snug fit with less than 1 inch of wiggle room when pulling on the seatbelt.”
To start out, every child needs to be in a rear-facing seat until at least age 1. “Your child should remain in a rear-facing seat until they reach the top height or weight limits provided by the seat manufacturer,” Dr. Everett advised. “This is the safest position for your child in the case of an accident, cradling them and protecting their neck and spine, so try to keep them in this type of seat for as long as possible.”
Once your child outgrows a rear-facing seat, they will need to switch to a front-facing one. “There are different options available for forward-facing seats, but make sure whatever you choose has a five point harness system for maximum safety benefits,” Dr. Everett suggested. “These types of straps help hold a child in their seat by restraining the strongest parts of their body and limiting their forward movement. Like rear-facing seats, your child should remain in a harness car seat until they reach the height or weight limit stated in the manufacturer’s manual.”
Booster seats are the final car seat step in your child’s life. “Booster seats are used by children anywhere between 4 and 12 years of age, depending on height and weight,” Dr. Everett said. “These give your child an extra lift to ensure proper safety belt fit in the backseat.
“In order for your child to no longer need a booster seat, they need to be tall enough to sit without slouching and keep their back against the seat,” Dr. Everett continued. “Your child must also be able to keep their knees bent naturally over the edge of the seat and reach the floor with their feet flat. No matter what age your child stops needing a booster seat, keep them in the backseat of your car until at least until age 13.”
Family Practice Physician Case Everett, MD, practices fulltime at the MHP Medical Group, providing primary care to all ages and also delivering babies. Dr. Everett is originally from New Sharon and is passionate about serving his home community. Dr. Everett chose Family Practice with obstetrics because he knew there was a need for obstetrical providers in rural Iowa and wanted to provide an all-encompassing medical practice to his patients. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Everett, call 641.672.3360.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.