Injuries and Wounds

Household Safety Basics

Reduce unintentional accidents, injuries, and non-traumatic emergencies and keep your family healthier by practicing a little prevention. Get the Household Safety Checklist ›

5 Key Mistakes Parents Make With Car Seats

You wouldn't think of not having a car safety seat for your infant or toddler, but are you using it the right way?

Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that three out of four children too small for seatbelts are incorrectly restrained in car seats or booster seats. Don't join the crowd; avoid these mistakes:

  • Using a defective car seat. Don't buy a used seat; you don't know its history. Avoid old ones (more than 10 years old), especially with missing parts or cracks. And never use seats that are missing a label or instructions, have been recalled, or were in a crash.

  • Using a forward-facing car seat too soon. Until children are both 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds, they should face the rear. When they're older than 1 year and also weigh 20 to 60 pounds (depending on the seat's limitations), the car seat can face forward. Older children should be in booster seats until they're at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall (usually ages 8 to 12). Until age 13, all children should sit in the backseat.

  • Installing the car seat incorrectly. "Not securing it tightly enough is the number one error parents make," says Dennis Durbin, M.D., of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Injury Prevention. "It shouldn't move more than 1 inch." You don't need a seatbelt to secure the car seat if both it and your car come with LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). "But still make sure it's tight, and never put the car seat in the path of an airbag."

  • Securing the harness straps incorrectly. They should always be snug and straight. For rear-facing car seats, use the two lower slots and strap the harness slightly at or below the shoulders. For forward-facing, use the top slot and strap slightly at or above the shoulders.

  • Positioning the chest clip incorrectly. Snap the chest clip at armpit level for rear-facing car seats, and at mid-chest or armpit level for forward-facing ones.

Improve Your Child's Car Accident Survival Rate

Boiling Water in Microwave Can Be Dangerous

Some of the advice floating around the Internet turns out to be far-fetched. But here's one tip experts say you'd do well to heed: Take care if you use a microwave to heat water. In some cases, boiling water can explode, causing serious burns to your face and hands.

"We don't realize how quickly water is heating when it happens behind the closed door of the microwave," says physicist Steven L. Snyder, Ph.D., vice president of exhibit and program development at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia.

Most people know a microwave oven heats foods and liquids faster than a stove. But they might not realize that it also heats more evenly, since a stove has hot spots. When you combine the even, fast heating of water with a new and clean cup, you've got a recipe for trouble.

Reduce Microwave Burn Risks

Evaluating Head Injuries in Children

Children hit their heads frequently. Most of the time, the injury is minor, usually involving only the scalp, and nothing needs to be done. Sometimes, the injury is more serious, involving the skull and/or brain inside, and medical attention is required. Answering the questions included in this evaluation will help you understand the difference between minor and serious head injuries and will help you decide what to do if your child has received a head injury. Remember, call your doctor if you notice any change in your child's personality, or if you notice changes in the way he is moving or talking. This guide is not meant to take the place of a consultation with your doctor. Begin the Head Injury Evaluation ›

Your Guide to Injuries and Wounds

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