Dear Readers: How do you know if you have your child in the correct CAR SEAT? With so many options, it’s hard to tell which one is the right one for your child’s age and size.
Here are some general guidelines, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
* A child under the age of 1 year should be placed in a rear-facing car seat. A child never should be front-facing before his or her first birthday and should weigh at least 20-22 pounds.
* Ages 1-3 years old can be placed in a front-facing car seat once they have outgrown the weight and height limits of the rear-facing car seat. It is recommended to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible, though.
* Ages 4-7 years old and 40 pounds and above can be moved into a booster seat using the adult lap and shoulder belt.
* Around age 8, children start to outgrow their booster seat and can use only the adult safety belt, so long as it fits them properly.
Often people ask, “Should a child ride in the front seat?” Laws vary from state to state, but for safety, it is recommended that a child under 12 sit in the back seat. For more information, you can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new Web site, dedicated to keeping children safe in and around cars. Go to www.safercar.gov, or call 1-888-327-4236.
P.S.: Don’t buy a used car seat!
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Dear Heloise: When traveling, I always have the phone numbers to the credit cards I am carrying. I also keep a copy of the credit-card numbers at home with someone I trust (e.g., my daughter, son, etc.). This way, if my cards are lost or stolen, I can call the company immediately and not give anyone a chance to use them. I can get the credit-card numbers if needed from my backup. -- Teresa, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: At the beginning of the year, I called to set up a doctor’s appointment. The receptionist asked what insurance I had. She said they were renewing their contracts with insurance companies and wanted to make sure they still took mine. I have never been asked that before on the phone (once I am an established patient). So my hint to your readers is to check with their doctors when making an appointment, even if their insurance hasn’t changed. I wouldn’t have wanted to find out they no longer took my insurance when I showed up for my appointment! -- Charlotte in New York
Dear Heloise: Whenever we let our dog outdoors to tend to her necessary needs, we always set the timer for five minutes, then fetch her in to our warm home (or cool home when too hot in summer heat). As we all know, there are times when we are too involved and time passes too quickly, and we may forget our pets. -- Pat F. in Minnesota
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