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New website takes the guesswork out of car seat questions

09-29-2017 (Akron, Mahoning Valley, Ohio )

If your child is 2-years-old and weighs 40 pounds, should he be in a rear- or forward-facing car seat? Is it safe to graduate a petite 8-year-old out of a booster seat? These are some of the questions that baffle parents but are vitally important should you find yourself in a serious car crash. Now, a new resource will eliminate the guesswork.

Akron Children’s Hospital and The Goodyear Foundation have launched a new website – www.safemobilityproject.com – to give parents valuable information to keep their children safe in cars, on bikes and later when they get behind the wheel themselves.

Special features include:

  • A car seat selection tool that tells you the type of seat your child needs based on their age and weight. This tool also includes a five-step test to let you know if older children can ride safely without a booster seat.    
  • Videos on how to properly install infant, convertible/combination, and booster child passenger safety seats.
  • A three-step guide to ensure a proper bike helmet fit.
  • Information about Ohio’s Graduated Driver’s License Law, including the process for teens beginning with their temporary instruction permit and the restrictions on newly licensed drivers under the age of 18.
  • A page for parents and teens to complete – and even customize – a contract outlining their family’s rules and teen driver’s responsibilities covering topics such as curfews, cell phone use, academics and insurance. The pledge can be shared on social media.
  • Content is available in five languages: English, Nepali, Karen, Arabic and Spanish.

In February 2016, Akron Children’s Hospital announced a three-year grant from The Goodyear Foundation to support the “Safe Mobility Project,” enabling the hospital and community partner organizations to expand child safety programs focusing on cars and bicycles.

Over the course of the grant, the Project will distribute 2,500 child passenger safety seats and more than 2,700 bike helmets and conduct car seat and bike helmet safety events with parents and caregivers in Akron-area neighborhoods where children are at high risk for injury. The teen driving program will be new to Akron Children’s.

“The website launch is a milestone in our collaboration with The Goodyear Foundation and its features have been given careful consideration based on the questions we know parents have. For example, we know a tough question for parents is ‘When do I move my child out of a booster seat?’ Our 5-step test will help parents make that call,” said Heather Trnka, injury prevention supervisor at Akron Children’s. “We are especially excited to offer all of this in five languages to help break down the barriers to communications.”

Research shows that young children still ride in cars without being secured in a car seat or booster seat and as many as 73 percent of child safety seats are not properly installed in cars.