For Immediate Release: September 14, 2012

Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 16-22

Parents, caregivers can ensure kids are buckled in safely at "Seat Check Saturday" events

RALEIGH -- Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 16-22, 2012, and Safe Kids North Carolina is urging parents and caregivers to make every trip in a vehicle a safe trip for children by following the strict rules of safety restraints.

"As adults, it's our responsibility to make sure that every ride is a safe ride for children," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "Choose an appropriate child safety or booster seat for your child, install it properly and use it every single time your child rides in a car."

Seat Check Saturday events will be held on Sept. 22 in communities across North Carolina. These events will provide free car seat inspections and training to help parents and caregivers buckle kids in safely. Safe Kids North Carolina is partnering with Safe Kids Cape Fear to host a Seat Check Saturday event from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Legion Stadium Sports Complex, 2221 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington. To find a scheduled event in your area, go to www.buckleupnc.org/contacts_events.cfm.

According to Safe Kids USA, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of U.S. children 12 years old and younger. And, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly three out of every four child safety seats are used incorrectly.

As children grow, they should progress through four steps of restraints:

Birth-12 months – Children 12 months and younger 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 you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.

1-3 years – According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should ride rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

4-7 years – Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it's time to use a booster seat that is located in the back seat.

8-12 years – Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough that the seat belt fits properly. The lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember, your child should continue to ride in the back seat because it is safer there.

By following these guidelines, your child will ride as safely as possible, and you will be establishing the foundation for a life-long habit of seat belt use every time your child travels.

More than 100 permanent checking stations are located at fire stations and other sites around North Carolina. To see the list of permanent checking stations by county, visit www.buckleupnc.org.

Safe Kids North Carolina reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 66 counties served by 38 coalitions across the state. Through these coalitions and partnerships, more than six million people have access to Safe Kids North Carolina programming. For more safety tips and information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org.

--NCSK--