Western Maine Pediatrics
Safety and Prevention
For more information about our upcoming clinics please visit Western Maine Pediatrics: Flu Information
Car Seat Safety
Maine’s Child Passenger Safety (CPS) law is one of the strongest in the country. The law requires that: Children who weigh less than 40 lbs. must ride in a child safety seat; Children who weigh at least 40 lbs., but less than 80 lbs. and less than 8 yrs. old, ride in a federally approved child restraint system; Children who are more than 8 yrs. old and less than 18 yrs. old and more than 4 feet 9 inches in height should be properly secured in a safety belt and; A child under 12 yrs. old and who weighs less than 100 lbs. is properly secured in the back seat of the vehicle, if possible.
Newest Recommendations- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released recommendations for children including: BIRTH – 12 MONTHS. Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear facing seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
For more information please visit: www.nhtsa.gov
1 – 3 Years: Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
4 – 7 Years: Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8 – 12 Years: Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.
Lead Exposure and Prevention
Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem. Approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million of these dwellings are homes to one or more young children.
Who is at risk?
All children under the age of 6 years old are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths. Their bodies absorb lead faster than adults and have fast growing brains that can be easily damaged.
What can be done to prevent exposure to lead?
Wash your child's hands often and always before eating.
Leave shoes at the door. This will keep lead contaminated soils outside.
Make sure that your family has a healthy diet that is high in iron and calcium. Children with good diets absorb less lead.
- Lead dust can be invisible. Clean windows and floors often with an all-purpose household cleaner and lots of "elbow grease."
- Keep paint surfaces in good repair. Never use a power sander when preparing surfaces for repainting unless you know there is no lead paint on that surface.