|Child Passenger Safety Week observed |
|Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 9:03 pm |
|The Union City Police Department and Obion County Prevention Coali-tion are urging parents and caregivers to have their children’s car seats checked Saturday — designated as National Seat Check Saturday. |
As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs this week through Saturday, certified child passenger safety technicians from the Union City Police Department will be available to inspect car seats and provide free hands-on advice 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Herman Jenkins Motors at 2030 West Reelfoot Ave.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released updated car seat recommendations for children through age 12,” Union City Police Chief Joe Garner said. “We want to help you do all you can to best protect your child when traveling. During Child Passenger Safety Week, we urge all parents and caregivers to have your car seat checked by a certified technician. When it comes to the safety of your child, there is no room for mistakes.”
In motor vehicle crashes, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children younger than 1 and by 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4 in passenger cars, according to data collected by NHTSA. In 2009 alone, 754 children ages 12 or younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes while riding in passenger cars or light trucks.
Among those who were fatally injured where restraint use was known, 42 percent were unrestrained. The NHTSA said many of those tragedies could havebeen prevented if the children were in the right restraint for their age and size.
The updated recommendations emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next type. For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should visit their local inspection station to ensure their children’s car seats are used properly.
Proper use by age includes:
• Birth to 12 months — For the best possible protection, a child younger than age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats. Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and three-in-one car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing users to your their children rear-facing for a longer period of time.
• 1-3 years — A child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once the child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
• 4-7 years — Keep a child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. Once the child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
• 8-12 years — Keep a child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
Other tips include:
• Select a car seat based on the child’s age and size, choose a seat that fits in the vehicle and use it every time.
• Always refer to a specific car seat’s manufacturer’s instructions and read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat. Check height and weight limits.
• To maximize safety, keep a child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
• Keep a child in the back seat at least through age 12