It’s National Child Passenger Safety Week: Have you Checked Your Child’s Car Seat Lately?
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on September 22nd, 2010
When you drive with children in your vehicle, you are driving with precious cargo.
As a reminder about keeping our children safe when traveling in motor vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated this week, Sept. 19 to 25, as 2010 National Child Passenger Safety Week across the U.S.
On Saturday, Sept. 25, child safety seat inspection stations will be set up at no charge in local communities to allow parents and other child care providers to ensure that the car seats they are using are safe, in good condition and up-to-date.
And just as important, the NHTSA estimates that 3 out of 4 people who use child safety seats to secure children inside vehicles are using them improperly, from attaching them to the vehicle incorrectly or by improperly harnessing children into the safety seats.
That is a sobering percentage of incorrect usage of these vital safety systems.
We here are MyPhillyLawyer urge you to take advantage of these free inspections so you can learn if you are using your child safety equipment properly and to ensure that your children are as safe as possible while in the seats. If you need help figuring out how the seats work properly, safety teams will be on hand to help and provide tips on proper use of the sometimes-confusing devices.
Click HERE to find the nearest inspection station in your neighborhood. You can search by ZIP Code or by state. Call the station nearest you for their location and hours of operation this Saturday.
This is a great idea, coming on the heels of some very good news several weeks ago when the NHTSA announced that fewer people died in traffic accidents on U.S. roadways last year than in any year since 1950.
Improved child safety seats and other safety features certainly helped improve on these numbers.
This Saturday’s child safety seat inspection station activities can help you ensure that your child, grandchild or friend’s child that you are transporting in your motor vehicle will be as safe as possible in the event of an accident.
There is no down side to these inspections.
If you are improperly using the car seat or improperly securing a child into it, that’s a good thing to know before disaster could strike.
Here’s a sobering statistic from the NHTSA: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 3 to 14 (based on 2006 statistics, which are the latest available from the National Center for Health Statistics). “Every day in the United States, an average of 4 children age 14 and younger were killed and 529 were injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2008,” according to the NHTSA.
How effective is proper car seat use by parents and child care providers?
“Among children under age 5, an estimated 244 lives were saved in 2008 by restraint use,” according to an NHTSA report. “Of these 244 lives saved, 219 were associated with the use of child safety seats and 25 with the use of adult seat belts. At 100% child safety seat use for children under age 5, an estimated 323 lives (that is, an additional 79) could have been saved in 2008. From 1975 through 2008, an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints (child safety seats or adult seat belts).”
So please come out to National Seat Check Saturday and find out how you can better protect your children in your motor vehicles.
You’ll be able to get more information on what types of car seats are best for children as they get older, including rear-facing seats for infants to front-facing seats and booster seats for older toddlers. Also available will be information on the “ease-of-use” ratings systems that have been created by the NHTSA to help parents decide what child safety seats to buy and install.
You’ll also be able to find out how to properly use the built-in child car seat attachment points (tethers) that are built into most vehicles today. The systems, called LATCH, for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, provide fixed attachment points that can be used to correctly install car seats in vehicles.
One more thing – your concerns about child safety seats don’t end once you’ve bought one and use it for your child.
It’s also advised that you register your child safety seat purchase with the manufacturer of the car seat so that you can be easily notified if there is ever a safety defect or recall on the equipment that you are using for your child. Information on this registration program will also be available at the inspection stations this weekend.
Safety is something we have to constantly monitor, especially for our children, so they are protected as much as possible and kept safe from unforeseen dangers.
Buying, using and maintaining quality, well-maintained child safety seats for our children when they are traveling in our vehicles is one of the biggest responsibilities we have as parents.
Be safe and be smart.
Go out and take a few minutes for a child safety inspection this Saturday in your neighborhood.
It’s free, fast and easy.
We’ll all feel better knowing that the children driving around in vehicles on the roads with us are safer and more secure.
See you on Saturday.