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Car seat safety discussions at well-baby visits

Car Seat Safety Overview

Injuries related to motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of injury-related death for Canadian children. Motor vehicle collisions can cause serious injuries to the head, neck spine and internal organs. Children are at a higher risk when they are not restrained properly. 

A properly used car seat or booster seat reduces the risk of injury and death by up to 71%. Car seats save lives.

Below you will find a list of resources you can share with families in your practice.

These resources will guide you through how to support families and caregivers to choose and use the right car seat or booster seat and use it safely on every ride.
You’ve got this!  If you have any questions or need additional support, call us anytime at 902-470-7036 or email childsafetylink@iwk.nshealth.ca
Or call 1-866-288-1388 (*toll free in Atlantic Canada only)

Resources and talking points for key well-baby visits: 
 

Prenatal visit

Printable resources
1. Is your seat safe to use?      en français        Arabic

2. Infant seat fact sheet          en français

Key messages / talking points

  • Always use a car seat on every ride – even when travelling in a taxi.
  • Make sure your car seat is safe to use. Checklist
  • Always install your car seat into the back seat of the car, truck or van.
  • A car seat is not a safe place for your baby to sleep. It’s okay for the baby to fall asleep when travelling in the car. Always take your baby out of the car seat when you arrive at your destination. 

Newborn

All families are provided with the following resources at discharge thoughout NS

Infant seat fact sheet          en français

Is your child in the right seat?   other languages here

Education and support is provided at discharge according to the Infant Car Seat Education Policy
Nurses use this pocket-reference card and an LMS learning module to support safe discharge.

2 month / 4 month
Refer to resources provided at discharge. (above)

Key messages / talking points

  • Use a rear-facing car seat. Fully buckle all parts of the harness. The harness should be snug. Place the chest clip at armpit level. 
  • The harness straps should be coming out of slots that are level with or below your baby’s shoulders.
  • Install the seat in the car at the most reclined angle allowed for your newborn so that their head does not tilt forward and close their airway.
  • A car seat is not a safe place for your baby to sleep. Take your baby out of the car seat when you arrive.
6 month / 9 month
Printable resources
3.  Rear-facing fact sheet      en français

Key messages / talking points

  • Check the labels on your seat to find out when your baby will reach the seat’s height or weight limits.
  • Once your child has outgrown the infant seat, use a larger, rear-facing seat.
  • Keep your child rear facing for as long as they still fit the larger, rear-facing seat.
  • Make sure your child’s head is at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) below the top of the seat. It is safe for your child’s legs to bend or touch the back seat of the car.
12 month / 18 month
Printable resources
4. Forward-facing fact sheet    en français

Key messages / talking points

  • Your child is safest riding rear facing until 2, 3, or even 4 years old.
  • Once your child has reached the height or weight limits for their larger rear-facing seat, your child should ride in a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness.
  • Once your child is using a forward-facing seat, the harness straps should come out of slots that are level with or above your child’s shoulders.
  • Always attach the top tether when installing a forward-facing seat.
3-5 years old
5. Booster seat fact sheet          en français
6. Is your child in the right seat?   other languages here

Key messages / talking points

  • Keep your child in a 5-point harness until they weigh at least 18 kg (40 pounds) and are able to sit correctly in a booster seat without moving around or unbuckling. This may not be until age 4, 5, or 6.
  • If your child outgrows this seat before they are ready, you will need a seat with a 5-point harness that will hold a taller, heavier child.
  • When using a booster seat, position the lap belt low on your child’s hips with the shoulder belt across the chest and resting between your child’s neck and shoulder.
 

 

Infographic: 

The information above is also available as an infographic: 
Car Seat Safety Discussions at Well-baby Visits: (Poster) Printable PDF

Image
Well baby poster

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