Every day in America, millions of parents and caregivers travel with children in their vehicles. While some children are buckled in properly in the correct car seats for their ages and sizes – most are not, if they are buckled up at all.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half (46%) of car seats are misused. To help combat this issue, NHTSA is sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week from Sept. 15-21, a campaign dedicated to helping parents and caregivers make sure their children ride as safely as possible—every trip, every time.
“Every 32 seconds in 2017, a child under 13 was involved in a passenger vehicle crash,” said Isanti County Public Health Car Seat Technician, Diane Wiss. “Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe.”
According to NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of US children. Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference. “In 2017 in the US, there were 312 children under the age of 5 saved because they were using restraints,” Wiss said. “Car seats matter, and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical.
“As parents and caregivers, we have a long list of things we do for our children to show our love. One of the simplest and most important things on the list should be to make sure they are in the right car seat for their age and size. Get your car seats checked. Make certain they’re installed correctly, and that your kids are in the right seats and are buckled in correctly,” she added.
To schedule a car seat check in Isanti County, call or email Diane Wiss, 763-689-8281, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, they should travel in a rear-facing “convertible,” or all-in-one car seat. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness (always use the tether). After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seat belts safely. And if children are under 13 years old, they should always sit in the back seat.
Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. To learn more about child passenger safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/carseat.