Even when purchasing a new car seat or booster seat, make sure it has the required Federal sticker which allows  for use in the United States. This sticker is always required. It has valuable information such as manufacturer and model name, date of manufacture, expiration date, etc. This sticker informs you that it is allowed for use in the United States. It also provides information needed to check for recalls and related use information.

This sticker is white, generally rectangular in shape and can be found on the bottom or back of the car seat or booster seat. For infant, rear-facing only car seats, there are two stickers, one for the car seat carrier and one for each base.
Look for the required Federal sticker on your car seat (similar as to the above). This shows any expiration dates, information to check for recalls and illustrates that the seat has met Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) Number 213 of Title 49, Part 571 and legal to use in the United States. In addition, the car seat or booster seat will have contact information in the U.S. to contact the company for recall, problems, registration information, etc.  If the car seat or booster seat does not have this sticker, do not use it! If it is a new car seat or booster seat without one, return it for a refund immediately!
If this sticker is not found on the car seat or booster seat, even if you are sure the seat is allowed in the United States (i.e. well known brand such as Evenflo or Britax) or you know if it once had a sticker because you used the seat for a previous child, it is not legal to use. It needs this sticker to be valid. If you are not able to find this sticker DO NOT use the seat. This is equally as important if renting a car seat from a car rental or baby gear rental as well. When in question, always check with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to confirm.

If purchasing a car seat or booster seat ONLINE, make sure it has this sticker and appropriate instructions that show it is allowed for use in the United States. There are some car seats for sale on trusted websites such as Amazon and eBay, for example, that do not have these stickers and are not allowed for use in the United States. Remember a car seat or booster seat without this sticker is NOT safe, nor legal and has not been crash tested under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. As a result it is not clear how that car seat or booster would  perform during a car crash.  This puts your child at risk of severe injury or death in the event of a collision. Further the driver and/or parent are at risk of being ticketed because of driving with a child without a U.S. approved child restraint system. So if it does not have this sticker, return it for a full refund immediately. Anytime you are unsure always talk with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

NHTSA Child Restraint Recall Notice,:

1) Graco Extend2Fit car seats

These include the above seats manufactured between November 27, 2015, to January 20, 2016.

Graco will notify registered owners and provide a newly corrected label,  free of charge. This recall is expected to begin on February 26, 2016. 

Product owners may contact Graco at 1-800-345-4109. or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or visit www.safercar.gov.

More information on this recall.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to sign up for child recall notices at safercar.gov
Pro Consumer Safety is seeking fund contributions to help pilot a sustainable, unique and effective program targeted to under served parents and caregivers of newborn children to promote safety in motor vehicles.

While 96% of parents believe that their child's car seat is installed and being used correctly, unfortunately 3 out of 4 are not, exposing these children to risk of severe injury and death during a crash. This mirrors that fact that motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States (CDC). 

Child passenger safety is technical and complex. Whereas for a car seat to protect a child as it is designed to, it needs to be 1) the correct seat for the child, 2) correctly installed in the motor vehicle and 3) the child must be buckled up properly in the harness strap. 

Pro Consumer Safety is piloting a sustainable, unique and effective program for under served families in the Los Angeles County area. The program, that has shown to keep children 13 times safer while riding in a motor vehicle, will run for a duration of three months and will serve approximately 240 families providing them with a certified resource for each stage of buckling their child from birth to 16 years. The pilot will provide foundation for a certified, sustainable and effective program for hospitals, clinics and birthing centers for newborns in the Los Angeles area and throughout the United States.

Please help support the Campaign Fund for Child Safety and promote safety for children as passengers in motor vehicles.

Pro Car Seat Safety, a division of Pro Consumer Safety released a "Best Practice Standard" to help remind parents that car seat manufacturers are designing car seats at a greater height and weight maximum so children can ride at each stage longer. Depending on the the car seat design, children can ride rear-facing to around kindergarten age. Of course this ranges between 3-5 years depending on the seat height and weight maximum and the child's size. The important thing for parents to understand is that car seats are going to a greater height and weight maximum so kids can ride in each stage longer. This helps to keep them safer by giving them the physical support they need to protect their neck and brain from injury during a car crash as seen in this video.
When infants and toddlers are advanced to a forward-facing position too soon,  this increases their risk for neck and traumatic brain injury or death during a car crash. Keeping children rear-facing longer, according to the car seat height and weight recommendations, provides them with proper head and neck support. 
Parents are beginning to understand, but many still need to be reminded. It is all too often that some parents advance infants and toddlers from rear-facing to forward-facing too soon, increasing the child's risk of c-spine (neck) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some also parents become confused between the law and recommendations from parents who had infants and toddlers several years back when car seats were not used like they can be today.

Some car seats  are now designed for rear-facing for children up to around 43 inches or 50 pounds. This is great news because children can now be seated in a rear-facing to three to even five years of age, depending on the height and weight of the seat and child. Therefore giving the child more support and protection during a collision. When I provide consultation to parents and make them aware of the increased height and weight in many rear-facing restraint systems, they often are surprised that their child can ride rear-facing to about kindergarten age, depending on the height and weight maximum and the child. While parents have specific milestones for infants and toddlers, when it comes to car seat seating positions, the new milestone is to be rear-facing (birth to 3-5 years) from birth to on average about kindergarten age (depending on the maximum weight and height of the car seat and child). Followed by forward-facing (3-5 to 6-7 years) school-aged, booster seats (6-7 to 10-12 years), then to seat belt use, after they pass the seat belt test, usually between 10-12 years of age.
Parents remember to check your child's car seat height and weight maximum to know how long your child can remain in the seat. Remember keeping them in each stage longer gives them more protection, keeping them safest during a car crash.
Wearing a vehicle seat belt "properly" during pregnancy will help to keep the mother and baby safe in the event of a motor vehicle collision. The leading cause of hospitalized injury and injury-related death among women who are pregnant in the U.S. is motor vehicle crashes.  Wearing a seat belt “properly” during pregnancy can significantly reduce both maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality a following motor vehicle collision. (1)

The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend to women who are pregnant to always wear seat belts “properly” while riding in a motor vehicle.  Pregnant women who wear a seat belt “properly”, in the event of a crash, have lower rates of personal injury and fetal death, compared to women who were not buckled up properly during a crash. (2)

Select the image to the right to see how to "properly" wear a seat belt while pregnant as well as guidelines to follow if a motor vehicle collision occurs during pregnancy.
1. Am J Lifestyle Med, 2012, 6(3): 241-249.
2. Hyde LK, et al. (2003). Effect of motor vehicle crashes on adverse fetal outcomes. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 102(2): 279–286).
Watch this video and every time you start your vehicle, remember it. Watch it now and remember every time you start your vehicle, remember it. It can change your life!

Start your vehicle-remember this video!
Start your vehicle-remember this video!

Start your vehicle-remember this video!

When a recreational vehicle (RV) is crash tested and illustrates how wooden benches and dinette seating can collapse during a crash, parents must understand these risks. Guidelines are available for parents to consider the best and safest alternative when transporting children and using an RV.  
Review these videos from Bailey Motor Homes. This company is located in the United Kingdom, but illustrates how vulnerable the inside of an RV can be, especially for those not crash tests.  Parents also view Guidelines for parents: Alternatives to consider while traveling with children in an RV.

At Pro Car Seat Safety, a division of Pro Consumer Safety, we often receive calls from parents asking about how to install a child restraint system (car seats) in a recreational vehicle (RV). Most parents are either planning a trip with a family member who owns an RV or are planning on renting an RV. They become quickly confused when they follow the RV owner's manual for child passenger safety or after rental company provides them with a copy of the State child passenger safety law. 

RV's can present a false sense of security, due to their size, quality and even the seat belts on the bench and dinette seats. Here are just a few things to be aware of:
    1. Seat belts in the rear benches and dinette seats do not need to meet Federal seat belt requirements and RV's are not crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
    2. Child safety restraint systems (car seats and booster seats) are NEVER be used in rear-facing or side-facing bench seating in any RV.
    3. During a collision, wooden benches and cabinets can collapse and break apart, and equipment and storage materials can become projectiles causing injury to passengers.

What would an RV crash look like?

To give you an idea of what the inside of an RV would look like during a crash, see this video crash test from Bailey Motor Homes. This manufacturer is located in the United Kingdom, but provides an excellent example.  

What options do you have to protect your child in an RV? 
Pro Consumer Safety and Pro Car Seat Safety has 1) developed guidelines for parents to help keep children safe as passengers when using an RV and 2) established an RV "baby proofing" list.
Guidelines for parents:
Best allternatives to consider
RV's & Child Passengers
File Size: 266 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

Baby-Proof your RV: 
Practice "home safety" when on the road
Baby Proof Your RV
File Size: 404 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

For more information visit http://www.procarseatsafety.com/recreation-vehicles-rv.html  or call 323-491-6197
Another tragic, preventable death of a teen that was backed over while sunbathing in her driveway.

Every week 6 children in the United States are injured from being backed over by a vehicle in a driveway or parking lot.  This is equivalent to one average sized classroom of children every week that are injured from being backed over by a vehicle ranging from toddler-ages to teens.
While 50% of these injuries happen in driveways from vehicles backing-up, children are also injured on sidewalks and in parking lots. Drivers are not aware of the child and often the child is unaware the driver was moving the vehicle.  While most newer vehicles have back up cameras and sensors, while these are helpful, drivers need to take more caution of children around their vehicles and parents be more aware and educate older children and teens. 

TODDLER AGES: For parents and caregivers of toddler aged children, practice "safe" play areas such as lawns, porches or patio (being cautious of multilevel fall risk of course). 

OLDER CHILDREN & TEENS: For parents and caregivers of older children and teens remember that these children often become more focused on their own activity, not their surroundings. Their brains are also not yet developed to understand risk. Nor do they have the experience to understand the dynamics of driving a vehicle (i.e. difficult to see while backing, difficult to see in blind areas, unable to stop quickly, etc.). 

It is for these reasons that Dr. Safety urges drivers to practice the "Tips For Drivers" below and parents and caregivers model in their own behavior and teach their children the "Tips for Older Children and Teens. Remember practice safe behaviors and Watch Before You Back!

Tips For Drivers

  • Walk around the   back of  your parked vehicle to check for children-or anything that can attract a child like pets or toys -under or behind your vehicle before getting in and starting the engine.
  • When backing, remember your car crosses a sidewalk where children could cross on a bicycle, walking, or running. A simple honking of your horn will alert others you are backing out.

  • After exiting a vehicle, always hold your  child’s hand. If you have other children, have each hold another’s hand.
  • When walking with your children teach children how to recognize when a driver puts a car in reverse (white back-up lights turn on).
  • When going back to your vehicle, look around for children who might be around when backing up.
Tips for Older Children & Teens

SIDEWALKS (walking, running, or riding a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, blades)
  • Be aware of  “blind” driveways and alleys where delivery trucks and cars may be backing up.
  • If you see the white “back-up” lights turn on, on a vehicle, you must STOP!  
  • These light turn on  when a driver makes the car go backward to let people know they are backing-up. Let the car back away, then continue walking.     

  • Be aware of vehicles that back-up by looking for their “white” back-up lights. If you see them turn on, you STOP, back away & let the vehicle backup.
  • Always walk, never run.


Educational Material (click above to download)
Awareness Flyer (click above to download)

CONTACT DR. SAFETY: DrSafety@proconsumersafety.com

For injury prevention information or media advisory contact Pro Consumer Safety