Infants Dying in Car Seats

Are you leaving your infant in their car seat because they are asleep and you’ve arrived at your location? If they are still properly strapped in, that’s okay but if you’re in the habit of unbuckling them they are in danger of death by positional asphyxiation.


Positional asphyxiation occurs in infants who don’t have the neck strength to lift their head. If they aren’t properly trapped in they can slump forward and their head can fall on their chest and, because they don’t have strength in their neck muscles they can’t lift their head enough to open up their airways in order to breathe.

Read about one such death and the efforts of Shepard Dodd’s parents to spread the word in order to save the lives of other infants. Better yet, spread the word. In simply talking about this post here at work several women admitted that they have let their infant who wasn’t strapped in sleep in a car seat in the past. My guess is that most parents have no idea.

When to Make the Change from Car Seat to Booster Seat

A question that every parent has to face sooner or later… when is my child old enough or big enough to move from a car seat with a 5-point harness to a booster seat?

Unfortunately, there is no set age or weight. Fortunately there are some factors that can help you make the right call to ensure the safety of your child(ren).


According to “Car Seats for the Littles” (, more important than age or weight is the child’s maturity level. According to the site:

“Moving a child to a booster seat gives them freedom that they’ve never had before: freedom to lean sideways, slouch, bother their sister, pick up a toy off the floor, and so on and so forth. If a child is wiggling out of position at the time of a crash, that leaves them vulnerable to serious injury.

That means the decision to move from harness to booster is rooted in the child’s maturity. The ability to sit correctly for the entire ride, 100% of the time, happens somewhere past age 5 for most kids, and not until 6 or 7 for a many others.”

 Find out more by visiting



Thick Winter Coats Can Make Car Seats Unsafe

You want the best for your child. You don’t want them to be cold so you bundle them up to keep them warm (Reminds me of the definition of a sweater… something you have to put on when Mom is cold!).

That’s all fine and good when they’re playing outside but when it comes time to put them in their car seat, those extra layers could present a safety hazard.

The harnesses on a car seat is designed to function when it is tight up against your little ones’ body. Anything, including that nice thick down coat, that sits between the harness and your child’s body can hinder the proper functioning of the car seat.

Watch the video from to learn more


We Have A Little Emergency (W.H.A.L.E.) program

From the website:

“W.H.A.L.E.™ stands for “We Have A Little Emergency.” This car seat safety program was developed by Connie Day, a caregiver from Virginia. In the event of an automobile accident that incapacitates the adult driver and passengers, rescue personnel will have a difficult time identifying children riding in car safety seats. In some situations, these adults may not be related to the child passenger; therefore, conventional means of obtaining information will be useless. In these cases, W.H.A.L.E.™ can make a significant difference.”

The program consists of three parts:

1. An Information Label is attached to the back of the car seat, which provides important information about the child, such as name, date of birth, medical history and who to contact in case of emergency. The label is placed on the back of the car seat where it is not visible from outside the vehicle. This ensures the privacy of this personal information.

2. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Car Seat Stickers are attached to the sides of the seat.

3. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Vehicle Stickers are attached to the rear/side windows of the vehicle. Each of these stickers depicts the W.H.A.L.E™ logo and will alert emergency personnel that the occupants participate in the program.

Read more about the W.H.A.L.E. program and find out where to get your kit at

Child Car Seat Safety (Infographic)

How long should an infant be in a rear-facing car seat? If you said “1 year”, you’re “legally” correct but if you’re really concerned about the safety of your child it might pay to have a look at the graphic below. Truth is that your child should stay rear-facing as long as possible, up to 3 or 4 years of age.


Car Seat Safety Lewis Story

This weekend I got a message from my WordPress blog letting me know that someone had posted a comment on one of my posts. The title made me think that it was spam, having nothing to do with the post in question. Before I flagged it as spam, however, I clicked on the link that it referred to. In spite of the fact that it was posted as a comment under a post that was totally unrelated to carseats and in spite of the fact that I normally try to keep this blog focused more on workplace safety, after watching this short video, I felt that the message that it was trying to communicate is much too serious to not pass along.

So here it is:

Please take the time to click on the above link and view the video. Anyone who’s got kids, grandkids, nephews, niece or who has friends who do (can’t think of anyone this wouldn’t apply to except that hermit living on the top of the mountain in Tibet) needs to hear this.


Infant Car Seat Expiration

This falls a little outside of my usual post as it doesn’t directly refer to workplace safety but I came across this information this past weekend and figured it was just to important not to past along on a safety related blog.

I just became a grandpa for the first time 6 months ago. My daughter has lots of friends and relations that love to spoil their new daughter so she got a couple of new car seats (one for her car and one for her husbands’ car). If, however, someone had given her a used car seat or if I’d seen on at a garage sale, I would never have thought to look for an expiration date on it.

Did you know that car seats have an expiration date? I didn’t! I just did a quick poll here at work and not one person here knew it either!

Look for the expiration date on the bottom of the car seat. The polymers that the car seat are made of can degrade over time, especially in a hot car. Kids outgrow car seats fairly rapidly but parents tend to pass them along to others who are expecting or donate them to the goodwill or sell them in garage sales.

If you can’t find an expiration date, you probably should take the chance as only the older models do not have the expiration date. Without an expiration date, the general rule is that the life expectancy of a car seat is six years.

The other thing to keep in mind is that any car seat that has been involved in an auto accident, no matter how small, should be retired. Damages might not be immediately visible.

Not sure if your car seat is safe? Take it to your local fire station and they will be glad to let you know.