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Kids of All Weights Benefit From Car Seats

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Child safety and booster seats protect children of all weights, including those on the heavy side.

That's the finding of a new study that looked at nearly 1,000 children, aged 1 to 8 years, who were involved in crashes. All of the children were properly restrained in the correct child safety or booster seat for their height and weight, according to the report published online and in the December print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"Given that nearly 32 percent of children in the United States are categorized as overweight or obese, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for all children, we wanted to better understand how these two threats to children's health interact," lead author Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, an attending emergency physician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a hospital news release.

"This research should reassure parents that their only concern when it comes to car seat safety should be to follow the most recent guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics," he added.

Those guidelines, revised earlier this year, outline the use of car safety and booster seats based on a child's height, weight and age.

"A good time to re-evaluate child safety seat needs is during your child's routine medical visits. Compare your child's weight and height measurements to the manufacturer's acceptable ranges on the seat's labels or instructions," Zonfrillo recommended.

"There's no 'one-size-fits-all.' If your older child moved to a booster seat at age 5, don't necessarily assume it will be the same for his or her younger siblings," he said.

He and his colleagues also said pediatricians and family doctors should advise parents to check their child's height and weight measurements against their safety seat specifications.

More information

Here's where you can find the American Academy of Pediatrics' car safety seat guidelines.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, news release, Nov. 29, 2011

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