Did you know most people think they have their child in the right car seat, but don’t? There are multiple factors that determine if a car seat is the safest for your child, ranging from a child’s size and age, to the model of your car. Unfortunately, many families don’t find out that their car seat wasn’t installed correctly or wasn’t the right one until after an accident occurs.
This week, the National Highway Safety Transportation Association is placing a spotlight on how safe children are in their car seats to raise awareness on the importance of having children in the correct car seats. Designated as Child Passenger Safety Week, the NHSTA has created a Parent Control Center where parents can read car seat safety tips and find a location where parents can take their children to a Car Seat Inspection to get their car seat checked for free.
Often, despite kids’ safety being a top priority for parents, many car seats are being used incorrectly, which puts children’s well being at risk. According to The NHSTA, many parents and caregivers move their children to the next restraint type (car seat, booster seat, seat belt) too soon, and that’s why hands-on inspections and instruction are so important.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws requiring children to be restrained while riding in cars, with some states now requiring children to ride in appropriate car seats or booster seats until age 9 depending on their height and weight.
Making sure your children are in the correct car seat could save their lives. Car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury in cars by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. In SUVs, pickups and vans, they reduce the risk by 58 percent for infants and 59 percent for toddlers. In 2011 alone, an estimated 314 lives were saved by proper car restraints among children 4 and younger.
National Seat Check Saturday aims to teach parents how to correctly install and use car seats, and to ensure children are in the right seats for their ages and sizes. To locate a Certified Child Passenger Safety technician in your area, go to safercar.gov/therightseat or download the free SaferCar app from the iTunes App Store.