This coming week (Sept. 18-24) the annual National Child Passenger Safety Week campaign will focus the public’s attention on how important it is to place children in the correct child safety and booster seats or seat belts every time children are transported in cars. Many free booster and safety seat checking events will be held in communities throughout the country. The safety of children in and around cars will be emphasized.
Because motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States from 3 to 14 years of age, Childsafetyblog.org wants parents, family members, and caregivers to know that many of these deaths could be prevented. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that securing children in age-, weight- and size-appropriate car seats or booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half. Risk factors in these fatalities include: the lack of restraint or seat belt use and incorrectly used child restraint systems. Sadly, many children are fatally injured while riding with a drinking driver. All of these factors put kids in cars at serious risk.
However, there are some simple things parents, family members and caregivers can do to reduce the risk:
- Parents and caregivers need to use their seatbelt on every ride to set a good example for children;
- Make certain kids are properly secured in a booster seat, car seat or seat belt appropriate for their age, height and weight;
- Pick the right seat for your child; secure it tightly to the car—make sure to have an official safety or booster seat check to assure the seat is properly installed and facing the right way;
- All children 13 years old and younger should ride in the backseat. For children less than 16 years of age, riding in the back seat may reduce the risk of serious injury up to 40%.
- Child passengers should never be seated in front of an airbag. The impact of an airbag can injure or kill a child in the event of a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also encourages parents to do the following to keep kids safer in and around cars:
- Never leave a child alone in a car;
- Never leave car keys in the car or the car’s ignition;
- Always engage the parking break when you park;
- Verify whether your car has a Break Transmission Safety Interlock, safety technology intended to keep a child from placing the car in gear. (You can check for the presence of a BTSI, by referring to your owner’s manual or contacting your car dealer.)
- Keep your vehicle locked when unattended;
- Teach children not to play in and around cars;
- Before you get in a parked car to drive, walk around it one time to make sure there are no children where you cannot see them.
ChildSafetyBlog.org encourages you to visit the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s website at www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS and check the child safety seat laws in your state. Also, don’t forget to get a free safety or booster seat check this coming week.