Children and caregivers all across the U.S. transport children to and from school, daycare, the store, and around town in car seats and boosters. What you may not know is that nearly half of all car seats are installed incorrectly, which means your child may not be getting to and from as safely as possible.
To help keep children safe on our roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week from September 15-21, 2019. The goal is to make sure your child is in the correct car seat, that it’s properly installed and used, and that it’s registered with its manufacturer to ensure you receive important safety updates.
Car seats and boosters are one of the easiest ways to keep your child safe in the car and, when installed correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers. The bad news is that many parents install their child seats incorrectly. In children under 5, an estimated 325 lives were saved in 2017 alone because they were properly buckled, but an additional 46 children could have been saved if every child was properly buckled.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for infants and children. From 2013 to 2017, there were 3,313 children under 13 killed while riding in passenger vehicles. 2017 was the first yearly decrease since 2014. However, nearly 37% of those children killed in 2017 were not buckled at all, and it is important to note that these deaths are preventable.
Did You Know?
- Road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to children in the United States.
- When installed and used correctly, child safety seats decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent among infants, 54 percent among toddlers and 45 percent among children ages 4 – 8.
- Children should ride in a vehicle back seat until they are 13 years old.
Get Help Checking Your Car Seat
If you have a car seat in your vehicle, visit a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your community to ensure that it’s correctly installed and that you are using it correctly. You can use this simple search tool to find a car seat inspection station near you right now, or visit a car seat check in your community on National Seat Check Saturday, September 21, 2019.
National Seat Check Saturday is the perfect time for parents to assure their children’s car seats are installed properly. In addition to the campaign being dedicated to educating parents on the correct ways to install car seats, it also provides safety tips to help parents choose the right car seat for their child.
Register Your Car Seat
It is imperative that all car seats are registered with their manufacturers in case of a safety recall. Every seat purchased comes with a postage-paid registration card that you can drop in the mail. You can also register your seat online. While a simple step, it is critical to make sure that you are notified if a defect is discovered with your car seat so it can be repaired or the seat can be replaced to keep your child safe.
Use The Right Seat
As children grow, parents tend to become a little lax on ensuring they are properly buckled in the right seats. The NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight limit allowed by the particular seat. This is the best way to keep them safe. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, they are ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and a tether.
When your child exceeds the weight or height limits for their forward-facing car seat, it may be time for a booster seat. This should be the next step before a child is ready to wear an adult seat belt alone.
Every single time you get behind the wheel with your little ones in tow, make sure everyone in the car is properly buckled. Our Hernando County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to help spread the message during Child Passenger Safety Week that correct car seat and booster seat use are the key to keeping children as safe as possible.