Child Passenger Safety Week
Written by Faith Anderson on September 19, 2012
Unbelted Adults More Likely to Leave Children Unrestrained
The main question on all of our minds is why parents and caregivers fail to buckle up their children in the first place? The fact of the matter is, child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers aged one to four. You can’t argue those odds. However, despite the fact that more than 90% of motorists believe that seat belts are a good idea for their own safety, less than 14% of drivers actually use them. And when they don’t have that safety-first mentality ingrained in their own minds, how likely are they to make it a priority to ensure the safe and proper use of a child seat? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not very likely. Statistics show that almost 40% of children riding in the car with unbelted drivers are themselves unrestrained.
Recommendations for Safety Seats Based on Age and Size
Depending on their age, child passengers should be restrained in car seats, in booster seats, or with seat belts. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should ride in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, or until they reach the maximum weight and height for the seat based on manufacturer’s recommendations. The organization also advises that children use a booster seat until the lap or shoulder seat belt fits properly, usually when children are between eight and 12 years old, and at least four feet, nine inches tall. Unfortunately, even parents who do use child restraint systems often use them incorrectly. One study found that 72% of nearly 3,500 observed car seats and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury in a car accident.
Child Safety Seat Clinics Nationwide
In order to promote safety for young passengers during Child Passenger Safety Week, free clinics are being held across the state, aiming to teach parents and care givers how to use their car seats and booster seats safely. During the clinics, certified technicians will demonstrate the proper use of safety seats and check car seats for parents. In 2009 alone, an alarming 1,314 children aged 14 and younger died as occupants in car accidents, with 179,000 more children sustaining injuries. Another CDC study found that, in just one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in cars without the use of a safety seat or seat belt at least some of the time. During Child Passenger Safety Week and every day of every year, parents are urged to forget that car and booster seats can be cumbersome and inconvenient; they can also save their child’s life.