Is the car seat in right? Are the buckles too loose? Is the booster right? Should the seatbelt be tighter? These are the questions that run through my mind every time I put my 3-year-old daughter in the car with me or give me 5-year-old niece a ride. Who are we kidding, a lot more worries than that go through my mind, but the responsibility of having a child passenger is a big one.
This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 16-22) and recognizing that our most precious cargo needs to be strapped in safely is very important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71% among infants and by 54% among toddlers. Also, belt-positioning booster seats reduce the risk for injury by 59% and seat belts reduce the risk for fatal or serious injury by nearly 50%.
Researching for this article made me realize the importance of keeping my little one safe and that I can and I will be attend one of the free car seat safety checks in my area this Saturday. (Which happens to be National Seat Check Saturday.) The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a website to help you find the nearest inspection station.
The NHTSA also recommends some easy tips for keeping your precious cargo safe:
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age, height, and weight.
- Keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as they fit the seat’s height/weight requirements.
- All children under 13 should ride in the back seat.
- Follow your car seat manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual on how to install.
- There are different laws and regulations for each state. Find out more about your state’s laws here.
- GET HELP. Certified technicians are available to check your car seat installation for free.
- Check out the NHTSA website for the nearest inspection station.
There are enough things to worry about when taking care of children, making sure they are safe in the car should be second nature. Knowing the laws and recommendations from experts should help you make the right choices. And, as always, we can lead by example by being a safe parent, driver and rider.