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Crash Test Dummies

Posted on 03/22/2011

It seems the obesity epidemic has created yet another problem. Turns out today's crash test dummies -- those used in testing things like vehicles and car seats -- are not "fat enough" to measure up to today's obese kids. So, what happens is children's car seats are not properly tested because a "fat enough" dummy has not yet been developed. Therefore, the tests may not reflect the true results that would take place in a real life crash with a much larger, life-like child. Ugh! Not good...not good at all.

With the federal testing laws in place, they really only apply to children who weigh less than 65 pounds. That leaves many, many children who exceed that weight.

Nowadays more than 10 percent of youngsters, 2 and 3 year olds, are now considered obese, and over that weight limit easily, it is feared federally accredited child seat tests and the dummies they use to test them do not accurately reflect the size of today's enormous children.

What this basically means is that parents unknowingly may be putting their kids in seats too small for them and putting them at risk, since the seats are not tested for those kids and their real-life weights.

Right now it is up to each seat manufacturer to test the seats and ensure they are safe, since there are not dummies that the federal authorities use. It is good to point out that some manufacturers do make seats that fit toddlers up to 85 pounds now.

Children aged 1 to 4 ride in forward-facing seats that usually fit children from 20 to 40 pounds. There are a growing number of toddlers who are obese in this country and exceed 40 pounds, which means they do not fit these seats properly.

While booster seats with shoulder belts cater to older than 4 years old typically and children weighing more than 40 pounds. The downside to those is that shoulder belts do not prevent children from leaning forward, moving the belt and putting themselves at risk for injuries if a crash should occur.

According to a Washington Post report, a way to get around this issue and fit larger, heavier children in car seats is to market the same seats intended for children up to 65 pounds instead for those up to 85 pounds.

What an issue we've created for ourselves...seems to me that we've super-sized our kids right out of safety this time! Forget about the ALL other health implications obesity and all the other related diseases have, these dangers lurk every time you step foot in the car and buckle in Johnny or Jane.

Dear readers, we really need to act quickly to ensure no more lives are lost unnecessarily. We must first look at what we are feeding our children -- at home and at school -- and make some very serious changes, immediately. While we're at it, we need to look at our own food choices.

We need to set good examples and lead by example and show them what a healthy lifestyle isdon't merely talk the talk, but walk the walk! Children learn best by consistent messaging from their parents and other adult role models in their lives.  They lose respect, trust and interest when parents do not do as they request from them.

Stop going to fast-food restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stop eating convenience foods that have high amounts of fat, cholesterol and sodium. Stop drinking super sized sodas. Stop eating sugary candy and salty chips. Stop being inactive. You will see an immediate difference in yourself and your children. You will be so glad you did. Don't delay, start now, not tomorrow, next week or next month. Right this moment!

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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