July 8, 2019

Safe Travels: Keeping Children Safe from the Heat

Traveling with children in the car isn’t always easy, especially if there has been a change in a parent’s routine or schedule. When caregivers feel tired or distracted, they may put their child or other children at risk due to unsafe vehicle behaviors.


Even if the outside temperature feels cool, leaving a child in the car, intentionally or unintentionally, is dangerous. While outside temperatures may be in the mid-60s, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise above 110°F, rising almost 20°F within the first 10 minutes. However, the risk of leaving a young child in the car is completely preventable.

Preventative Measures

Read these tips from Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock! to learn how to keep your child safe:

Never leave a child alone in a motor vehicle.

Leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. It takes only minutes for a vehicle to heat up and become deadly. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Make a habit of checking your back seat.

Place your purse, cell phone, briefcase, backpack or other items you typically carry in the backseat when you enter the vehicle. Put the diaper bag in the front seat with you as a reminder that your child is still in the vehicle. Open the back door to check the back seat when you exit your vehicle.

If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911.

Immediately call 911 if you see a child unattended in a vehicle. Provide the 911 operator with as much information as you can–type and color of vehicle, location in the parking lot, etc. Stay with the vehicle–don’t go into a store or office and assume the police are on their way. Check to see if the vehicle doors are unlocked.

After parking your car, lock it. Children who get inside an unlocked vehicle can become trapped.

A vehicle may be a tempting hiding spot for playing children. Lock your vehicle to prevent children from getting inside.

*Information provided by PA Promise for Children


January 4, 2019

Coats and Car Seats: Keeping Your Child Warm

Winter means keeping kids warm, but did you know that babies and young children should NOT wear puffy coats or snowsuits when in their car seat?

What Happens?

As demonstrated by the video below, coats or snowsuits can compress under the harness of a car seat, sometimes up to four inches. When this happens, the compression can cause the straps of your child’s car seat to not fit properly, creating a dangerous situation. This situation can also happen with sleeping bags for babies, creating an unsafe ride for your baby.


If you’re looking for ways to keep your baby or young child warm while in a car seat, consider incorporating the following recommendations:

  • Dress your baby or young child in snug layers, like onesies and leggings. Add long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat, shoes, and socks. You can even include a jacket.
  • For babies, use covers specifically for car seats that are designed to give warmth. These covers should be approved by the car-seat manufacturer for your specific car seat.
  • For older babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners, after securing them in the car seat, turn their coat around and put it on backward (arms through the armholes) so the coat is on top of the harness, or use a blanket in the car.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)


November 19, 2018

2018 Child Passenger Safety Recommendations

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children four years and older. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated the Child Passenger Safety policy statement and technical report based on new evidence gathered over the past 10 years. The documents will be published in the November issue of Pediatrics. The updated guidance advises children to ride rear-facing as long as possible. Two years of age is no longer a specific age criterion when a child changes from a rear- to a forward-facing car safety seat.
View the AAP New article.


Angela Osterhuber, Ed.M., Director, PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project (TIPP) offers this advice:

  • Secure infants and toddlers in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat. In Pennsylvania, children younger than two years must be secured in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat that has an active passenger-side front airbag. If the airbag inflates, it will hit the back of the car seat, right where the baby’s headrests, and could cause serious injury or death.
  • Traveling rear-facing is safer than forward-facing.
  • Call TIPP at 800/CAR-BELT x24 (in PA) for help with questions about the new recommendations.

Additional Tips

Car seats must be used correctly to properly protect your child in a crash. The AAP’s parent magazine,, has an article titled Car Seat Checkup with other car seat tips for families, such as:

Information provided by NAEYC.