National Child Passenger Safety Week is coming up from September 12th to the 18th This annual campaign provides parents an excellent time to:
- review child safety seat guidelines,
- make sure that the child restraint system in their vehicles is age and weight appropriate for their child and,
- that the system is used each and every time their child gets in their vehicle.
As an accident attorney and father, I applaud the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) efforts to bring public attention to the importance of properly securing children in vehicles through this week long campaign. I urge every parent and every care giver to take advantage of this annual reminder and make sure all car seats are: installed correctly, are age and size appropriately and are used every time the key is turned in the ignition! Here is why:
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children.
- Child safety seats, when used and installed correctly are at least 60% effective in preventing fatalities.
- One third of child passengers in cars are using the wrong car seat or restraint system; which could increase the likelihood of them being severely injured or killed.
National Child Passenger Safety Week kicks off with National Seat Check Saturday on September 12th. This is the day to have your child’s car seat checked to make sure that it is installed correctly. This is of utmost importance because:
- Proper use and installation of a child restraint seat can determine if your infant or child survives a motor vehicle crash or not.
- NHTSA research has shown that 3 out of 4 safety seats are improperly installed.
- An improperly installed restraint system offers little if any protection and could result in death or serious injury.
Here is a summary of the guidelines, according to NHTSA, for maximum child passenger safety:
- Keep infants in the back seat, in a rear-facing child safety seat as long as possible, up to the height and weight limit of the seat and at least until the infant reaches1 year of age and weighs 20 pounds.
- After 1 year and 20 pounds, young children should ride facing forward in a car seat, in the back seat, until they reach 4 years of age and weigh 40 pounds.
- Once children out grow their car seat, usually at 4 years and 40 pounds, they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the seat belts fit properly.
- Seat belts can be used in the back seat when they fit properly meaning that the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest, generally this is at age 8 and at 4 foot 9 inches tall.
- All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat with a seat belt.
Here are 3 things that you can do to protect your children passengers:
- Get your car seat checked to see if it is installed properly. If you live in North Central Florida, you can schedule a free appointment with a certified car seat technician with Safe Kids by calling 352 231 4636 or on line at Shandssafekids.com or go to NHTSA’s website to find an inspection station near you.
- Review car seat guidelines and make sure you are following the guidelines and that your child is safe in the car or truck: NHTSA’s guidelines.
- Use your child’s age and size appropriate restraint system – Every Trip – Every Time. It is the law in Florida and is the most important thing you can do to protect your child or newborn if you are in a crash.