Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Safety Information is OVERWHELMING, and constantly changing.  Keep your child in the safest seat possible by asking questions, and by reading up.  Be selective with who you ask and don’t assume that everyone knows more than you.  Pediatricians can have out-dated information, and firemen are not always experts either.  I’ll list some great resources at the bottom of this post, and every city has Certified Car Seat Technicians who are available to help.

Important to note – Michigan state law (or any state law) is different than safety guidelines. Just because you are legally “allowed” to do something in your car doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the safe choice.  Check up on BOTH the law, and the safety guidelines to make the best decision.

In summary (adapted from www.healthychildren.org):

– All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are at least 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.  (Even when a child grows out of their infant seat, they can remain rear-facing in a convertible carseat.) Better to keep kids rear-facing longer as long as they haven’t outgrown seat limits.

– Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for his convertible car seat should use a Forward-Facing Car Seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.​  Better to stay in a harnessed seat rather than jumping up to a booster too early.

– All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a Belt-Positioning Booster Seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 ft 9 in in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

– When children are old enough and large enough for the vehicle seat belt to fit them correctly, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection.  All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

– In general, it is best to keep children in each stage as long as possible instead of rushing to “graduate” them to the next stage.  Best to wait until they *need* to switch.

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Resources to check out:

Car Seats for the Littles – www.csftl.org

Healthy Children – www.healthychildren.org

Coming soon:  List of local Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) for your car seat checks!

Breast Pump Safety

Medela Pumps should *NOT* be passed from user to user….. EVEN with new parts.  (Unless, of course it is one of Medela’s two hospital grade closed-system pumps – the Symphony and the Lactina).

There are two different types of breast-pump systems: an open system and a closed system.

In an open system, the pump’s motor can be exposed to your milk. This is important because the milk that is unintentionally drawn into the pump can often go unnoticed. This can result in mold growth and the transmission of viruses. In fact, the FDA says this type of breast pump should only be used by one woman because there is no way to guarantee the pump can be cleaned and disinfected. This is true even if tubing is cleaned and/or replaced.  In addition, some lactation consultants will go as far as recommending replacing an open system breastpump when working with a mom who has a lingering yeast(aka thrush) infection because of the complexity in safeguarding the complete destruction of the fungus even with thorough cleaning.

A closed system breast pump is designed to keep every drop of your expressed milk away from the pump’s motor and into your collection container. This decreases the possibility of mold growth and infectious particles. Closed system pumps are considered more hygienic because they have a barrier, such as a filter, which catches any milk before it reaches the pumps working parts. As a result, the pump can be safely used for many years – which is good for baby AND you.  In addition, this pump is the only type that is safe to sterilize and pass to another user.

(adapted from Hygeia’s website)