Child Safety Week Would Your Child’s Car Seat Pass Inspection?
Securing your children properly in age- and size-appropriate child safety seats — in the back seat of your vehicle — is the most effective thing you can do to protect them in the event of a crash. In fact, in motor vehicle crashes, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.
Among child passengers under age 5, child restraints saved the lives of an estimated 244 children in 2008 alone. From 1975 through 2008, restraints (child safety seats or adult seat belts) are credited with saving the lives of 8,959 children.
Because child safety seats do save lives, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico require their use. Even so, motor vehicle traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for children age 3 and older.
The good news is that a majority of parents buckle up their children in child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts. However, according to the U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 3 out of 4 child safety seats are not used properly, which is a grave risk when traveling.
NHTSA’s Child Passenger Safety Week (September 19 to 25) is a great time to focus on increasing awareness of these issues, and provides parents and caregivers with resources and information to better protect children from motor vehicle crash risks.
For a child safety seat to do its job right, it has to be:
• Appropriate for your child’s age and size;
• Installed properly in your vehicle; and
• Adjusted to fit your child securely.
If you’re a parent or caregiver, you can have your children’s car seats checked for free, by-appointment, by calling the Palo Alto County Community Health Services office at 712-852-5419. Community Health has certified child passenger safety technicians that have been trained to inspect child safety seats and provide hands-on advice and instruction for a safe proper fitting.
Remember: All child passengers under age 13 should ride securely restrained in the back seat, where they are safest — every trip, every time. To learn more about child passenger safety and 2010 Child Passenger Safety Week events, visit www.nhtsa.gov.