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New Child Seat Safety Guidelines from NHTSA

Picture provided by The NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revised its child restraint guidelines to be categorized by age rather than by type of child seat in order to keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research and the development of new child restraint technologies. The new guidelines, which was issued on Monday 21, 2011, stated that parents and caregivers need to keep children in each type of restraint for as long as possible before moving your child up to the next level including  rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats. The safety agency recommends that the child should be in a rear-facing restraint position as long as the child fit within the height and weight limits set by the manufacturer. The rear-facing position reduces stresses to the neck and spinal cord and is particularly important for growing babies.

The new guidelines are consistent with the latest advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics which advises parents to keep kids in rear-facing restraints until two years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. There is no need to hurry to transition a child to the next restraint type.

Safety is every parents highest priority when it comes to their children. Selecting the right car seat for your child can be a challenge for many parents. The new NHTSA’s revised guidelines will help parents pick out the right seat for their child. Parents should also consider other factors when selecting a car seat, including their child’s weight, height, physical development, behavioral needs and type of vehicle driven.

Additional recommendations for child seat use from NHTSA include the following:

  • Always read child seat manufacturers’ instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on height and weight limits and how to install the car seat using the seat belt or the LATCH system.
  • All children under 13 should ride in the backseat.
  • Children in rear-facing car seats should never ride in front of an active passenger air bag.

Click here to view NHTSA’s new child restraint guidelines.

What Goes Around Comes Around

“The only difference between teaching 8th graders and preschoolers is the height.  Everything else is about the same.” 

I start out each year with my pre-kindergarten parents with this same line.  My experience in teaching is varied, but most of my public school educational experience is from teaching junior high – 8th grade.  And, with each class I teach in the preschool age, I notice there isn’t THAT much difference.  See if you agree:

1.  LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: If you were to sit in my pre-k classroom and listen to the conversations that happen in a 20 minute time period, you would hear plenty of “original” words, mispronounciations, and horrible sentence structure.  You might even hear a “dirty” word every now and then (immediately redirected by me – at this age, they really don’t know what they’re saying).  That’s how kids learn – by trying out new things.  And, in my junior high class, it was much the same, even if it was more intentional.  The “duhs” and “phats” and incomplete sentences – yep, all part of being 13 and 14 and learning to communicate.

2.  SPEED: Four-year olds know two speeds: fast and crash.  My boys especially were either running around the room or crashing into tables/easels/each other.  It is just how they are.  And, getting into wide open spaces makes it more manageable, but it is still run and crash.  It is much the same at the 7th and 8th grade level – adolescents are constantly running through the halls, running through the cafeteria, and as much as you tell them to SLOW DOWN, they continue to do so until they crash into a locker/door/desk/each other.  And again, it is usually the boys.

3.  THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER: One of the hardest parts about teaching 4′s is the girls.  Come February, we start the “you’re not my friend - today” game.  It is one of my least favorite parts of my job.  Girls don’t realize how much it hurts to hear those words, even when they have been said to themselves.  And, in 8th grade, many a girl-fight begins with the same attitude – you’re not my friend and I’m going to show you how I feel about you.

4.  GIMME SOME LOVIN’: The bright side to pre-k kids is the love they show.  Oh, they may act tough, but they flash that smile or color a picture for you.  They pick flowers on the playground and notice when you get your hair cut.  And, 8th graders aren’t much different.  They don’t WANT to like you – you are the teacher.  But, they leave you notes on your desk, wave to you across the cafeteria, or say hi to you at the football game.

What goes around comes around.  Growing up is one big circle.  We just travel it several times as we learn a bit more about what makes the world right.  Teaching junior high all those years did wonders to prepare me for being a preschool teacher – and a parent.  The only difference is the size of the package!

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