For Immediate Release: September 16, 2010
Contacts: Kristin Milam or Kerry Hall: 919-733-5238
Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 19-25
Parents and caregivers can make sure kids are buckled in safely at "Seat Check Saturday" events.
RALEIGH -- Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 19-25, and Safe Kids North Carolina is urging parents and caregivers to make every trip in a vehicle safe for children. An alarming number of children are not properly restrained while riding in vehicles; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly three out of every four child safety seats are used incorrectly.
"Children depend on you to choose an appropriate child safety or booster seat for them, install it properly and use it every time you take them for a ride in a car," said Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids North Carolina Chair Wayne Goodwin. "Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of children under age 14, and we all need to take child passenger safety seriously."
As children grow, they should progress through four steps of restraints:
- Rear-facing seats: Use in the back seat until a child reaches height and weight limits for the seat, until child is at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds
- Forward-facing seats: Use in the back seat until child reaches height and weight limits for the seat, usually until the child is around 40 pounds (although forward-facing seats with higher weight limits are available)
- Booster seats: Use in the back seat after child outgrows forward-facing seats and until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, always use with a lap and shoulder belt
- Seat belts: Use in the back seat when it fits the child properly; the lap belt should lay across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should fit across the chest, usually fits when child is at least 4'9" tall
"Seat Check Saturday" events will be held on Sept. 25 in towns across North Carolina to provide free car seat inspections and training to help parents and caregivers buckle kids in safely. Find a scheduled event in your area by clicking on this link.
In addition, a three-month child passenger safety pilot program is kicking off in Nash, Rockingham and Watauga counties. Drivers who are cited by law enforcement officers for child restraint violations will have the opportunity to have their citations dismissed if they visit a certified safety seat checking station in their county. After learning how to properly secure their child and install a car seat in their vehicle, they will be issued a certificate to bring to court to get their ticket dismissed. The initiative represents a partnership between fire departments, law enforcement, district attorneys and safety experts in an effort to prevent motor vehicle injuries among children.
More than 80 permanent safety seat checking stations are located at fire stations and other sites around North Carolina. Safe Kids North Carolina reaches out to parents, caregivers and children to prevent childhood injuries through 36 Safe Kids Coalitions working in 64 counties. For more information, visit the N.C. Safe Kids Web site.