For Immediate Release: September 13, 2012

Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 15-21

Make sure kids are buckled in safely at seat check events around the state

RALEIGH -- Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 15-21, 2013, and Safe Kids North Carolina is urging parents and caregivers to make every trip in a vehicle safe for children by following the strict rules of safety restraints.

“Buckling up saves lives. As parents and caregivers, we have the responsibility to make sure our children are properly restrained every time they ride in a car,” said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. “This week is meant to highlight the importance of everyone buckling up —especially our youngest passengers.”

In 2012, more than 62,000 children younger than 16 were involved in car crashes in North Carolina. Nearly two-thirds of the 60 children killed last year were not buckled in either a car seat or seat belt; among the 107 children who were injured, it is estimated that 25 would have suffered less serious injuries had they been properly buckled up.*

During Child Passenger Safety Week, and on Seat Check Saturday, Sept. 21, there will be events around the state at which parents and caregivers can learn how to properly install and use child restraints in vehicles. There are also more than 100 permanent checking stations at fire stations and other sites in North Carolina. To find an event, or see the list of permanent checking stations by county, visit www.buckleupnc.org.

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

Birth-2 years – According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should travel in a rear-facing care seat 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. 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. 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, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

2-5 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.

5-9 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.

9-16 years - When you child outgrows a booster seat, and can fit properly into an adult seat belt, it is important that families make it a priority to remind everyone in the vehicle to buckle up every ride, every time.

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.

Safe Kids North Carolina, a program housed in the North Carolina Department of Insurance, 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--