Pediatrics Corner

Pediatrics Corner

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Office Hours

(By Appointment)

Mon    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Tue     8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Wed    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Thu     8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Frid     8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sat and Sun  Closed


Quest Lab hours:     Mon-Fri 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Child Safety Seats

Child Safety Seats and Virginia law

At Capital Family Practice we are concerned for the health and safety of all our patients, including our pediatric population. According to Virginia’s child restraint laws all children under the age of 8 must travel in a restraint device that has been approved by the Department of Transportation standards and is being used properly (See the law here law is based on the age and not on the weight or height of your child, and applies to anyone who is driving a child in a car made after 1968. The law even applies to daycare providers, babysitters, family friends or relatives. Exemptions to this include public transportation, regulation school buses and farm vehicles. The major requirements of the law are as follows:

  1. Rear-facing seats should be placed in the back seat. A car seat can only be in the front seat of a car that has no back seat “if the vehicle is either not equipped with a passenger side airbag or the passenger side airbag has been deactivated.”
  2. Children from the age of 8 through 17 (until age of 18) must be correctly belted in regardless of where they are seated in a car.
  3. All children under the age of 1 should always be riding in a rear-facing child restraint seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention go further by recommending that all children should ride in a rear-facing seat until the age of 2 years or until they reach the highest height or weight allowed by the manufacturer. These seats support the infant’s upper body while protecting the head, neck and spine by spreading any force from a crash across the back.
  4. When switching your child to a forward-facing seat consider that he or she will need to remain in this seat until it is out-grown. Your child’s seat label should have information on weight and height limitations. Remember that Federal regulations require all safety seats to conform to a set of guidelines.
  5. Installation of the car seat is very important. Generally, once installed there should not be more than one inch of side to side or forward to back movement of the seat base. In Fairfax County the sheriff’s deputies will help parents and caregivers by providing Safety Seat Inspections. To see their schedule go to:
  6. When positioned correctly the harness straps should be flat and snug (not pinching) on the shoulder and chest area, not over the arms. Harness retainer clips should fit at armpit level. Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Your child is ready for a booster once they reach the upper weight and height limits set by the manufacturer. He or she should still be in the back seat.
  8. Your child is big enough to fit in a seat belt when they are older the 8 years AND the seat belt fits properly. For example, the lap belt must snuggly cross the upper thigh (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt should lay on the shoulder and chest (not the neck or face). It is still recommended that your child sit in the back seat at this age.

Other considerations in child seat safety include the following:

For further reading we suggest the following: