CPS Team Colorado District One news The Orphan Seat-great article to share

  • From: camie wewer <cjwewer@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <cjwewer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2011 11:07:24 -0600

'The orphan seat'
5:53 PM CDT, March 23, 2011


"It's a horrible term, but EMTs call the rear-facing seat 'the orphan seat'' 
because in a bad accident, that child is often the only one who survives."

— Alisa Baer, a pediatrician at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York, 
in The New York Times.

That quotation jumped off the page as we read articles about the American 
Academy of Pediatrics' new recommendation that babies should ride in 
rear-facing car seats until age 2. Here's what else got our attention: the 
tantrum that followed. From parents.

Babies who ride backward are cranky and bored, the parents complain. Their legs 
are too long. It's a hassle to get them into a rear-facing seat, especially in 
the winter when they're all bundled up. They cry. They get carsick. They can't 
see Mommy, and Mommy can't see them. They could be choking or bleeding or 
spewing vomit and nobody would know, and why can't the government just let 
parents decide what's best for their kids, for crying out loud?

This isn't the government. It isn't a law. It's sound advice from an 
authoritative source. Please listen.

The AAP is simply amplifying its earlier recommendation that babies should ride 
in rear-facing seats until they are at least a year old and weigh 20 pounds. 
Rear-facing seats give more protection to an infant's fragile neck and spine. 
They help keep the baby's oversized head from flying forward in a crash.

Some parents took the original guidelines to mean that baby seats should be 
turned around at 12 months. It was a developmental milestone to be celebrated 
along with that cupcake with one candle. But the AAP now stresses that 12 
months is the minimum standard. The longer a baby rides facing backward, the 

After babies outgrow the rear-facing carrier, they should ride in a 
forward-facing model with a five-point harness system until they reach the 
manufacturer's recommended maximum height or weight. Some of those seats can 
accommodate smallish kids up to age 8. Once youngsters graduate to booster 
seats, they should use them till they're 4 feet 9 inches tall — sometimes as 
old as 12 — with a shoulder and lap belt.

We know, we know. Try that with a minivan full of 10-and-under soccer players. 
If you think a backward-facing baby is fussy, imagine trying to get your 
'tweener to strap himself into a booster seat.

A lot of parents find it easier to argue with the AAP than with their kids. 
Earlier generations rode on Daddy's lap at 75 mph and lived to tell about it, 
back before the Nanny State discovered seat belts, and next thing you know 
we'll have to swath kids in bubble-wrap to drive 'em to preschool and rant, 
rant, rant.

Note that advances in child-safety restraints have met with resistance at every 
step, starting with the introduction of auto seat belts in the 1950s. But 
grumbling always has given way to common sense, often with a nudge from the law 
or the insurance industry. The vehicle accident fatality rate among kids under 
16 fell 45 percent between 1997 and 2009. Anybody want to argue with that?

Still, crashes are the leading cause of death for kids 4 and older. And 
research shows kids under 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer serious or 
fatal injuries if they're in rear-facing seats. In Sweden, which has the lowest 
highway fatality rate in the world for kids under age 6, youngsters ride facing 
backward until they're 4.

Each step "up" is actually a step down in terms of the protection provided, 
which is why the AAP wants youngsters to transition slowly. Even after they've 
outgrown the booster seats, the safest place for kids under 13 is in the back 

This isn't the medical establishment reversing course, issuing conflicting 
guidelines about the need for estrogen replacement therapy or annual mammograms 
or the merits of low-fat vs. low-carb diets.

It isn't the child-safety industry trying to sell more baby seats, either. The 
ones you have will work just fine, if used correctly, though some studies show 
that up to 75 percent aren't installed right.

So please, check them often. Use them for as long as possible. Your baby might 
walk at 10 months, talk at 12 months and ace the SATs before kindergarten. But 
there's nothing precocious about growing out of a safety seat ahead of schedule.
Copyright © 2011, Chicago Tribune


Camie Wewer
CPS Technician/Instructor; Special Needs CPS
CPS Team Colorado Advisory Council Representative District One
Drive Smart Evergreen/Conifer CPS Coordinator *Car Seat Assistance* 

FRETAC (Foothills Regional Emergency Trauma Advisory Council) Transportation 
Safety Coalition Liaison
TeachSource @ North Suburban Medical Center * Baby On The Go
303 674 9683 DS Office
303 489 4819 Cell 
303 453 2273 NSMC


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