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Improper use of car seats sends thousands of infants to ER's

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Albany/HV: Improper use of car seats sends thousands of infants to ER's
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Thousands of infants end up in emergency rooms every year because of improper use of car seats outside the car. Our Katie Gibas spoke with several experts about the best car seat safety practices.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Car seats are essential for protecting infants in the car. But leaving your baby in their car seat outside of your vehicle can be dangerous.

"If the harnesses aren't snug to the child correctly, then the child can like wiggle themselves out of it and either fall onto the floor or become injured," said Julia Ielfield, Child Passenger Safety Instructor.

Nearly 9000 infants across the country end up in emergency rooms every year because of improper use of car seats outside of vehicles. Most of the injuries are caused by the car seats falling off tables or other high surfaces.

"If they're on a table, the child could be like moving around and then flip the car seat over," said Ielifield.

"Head injuries, broken limbs, Theoretically I could assume death," said Taralee Cortez, Car Seat Technician.

Experts say the best ways to protect your infant in their car seat whether inside the car or outside the car is to use common sense and follow all of the instructions in the owners manual.

"The car seat is there just to maintain them into the vehicle to keep them safe. And then outside of the vehicle, in the house, they should actually probably come out of the car seat. It's just like you being restrained into a car seat for a lengthy period of time, into a seat belt for a lengthy period of time. You're not going to like it, and they're probably going to start to cry," said Ielfield.

"They're left in a diaper and they can be just sitting in a car seat for a long period of time. You shouldn't be using it as a baby sitter," said Cortez.

Experts urge parents to seek out answers to any of their car seat Safety questions.

Ielfield urges parents to go to a certified child seat fitting station to make sure the car seat they have is appropriate for their children.

To find a location near you, just visit seatcheck.org.

And for more car seat safety information, you can visit the following sites:

aap.org

nhtsa.dot.gov

car-safety.org

babyproducts.about.com

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