NHTSA Wants to Know: Is Your Child Properly Restrained In Your Car?
Certified safety technicians will be on-hand Sept. 23 to verify proper car seat installations for free
It’s National Child Passenger Safety Week, an annual campaign hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and that means it’s time to make sure your little ones are safely secured in your vehicle.
The week-long campaign works to educate the public on the correct installation and use of child restraint devices in vehicles, such as car seats and seat belts. Here are a couple of reasons why you should take note:
- It is extremely dangerous for unrestrained (or improperly restrained) children to ride in a moving vehicle. Automobile crashes are one of the top causes of unintentional deaths among children in the United States. In 2015, nearly 500 children under the age of 7 were killed in motor vehicle incidents, many of whom were unrestrained, NHTSA says.
- MANY people make mistakes when installing car seats. Stephanie Shaw, a safety advocate with the National Transportation Safety Board, highlights several common mistakes parents make when installing car seats, such as using a forward-facing car seat too soon for a child, placing the chest clip too low, making harness straps too loose, and installing a car seat too loosely, so that it moves away from the path of the seat belt.
- You can be ticketed and/or fined for improperly restrained children. Every state in the U.S. has traffic laws requiring the use of child safety seats for child passengers under a certain age or body weight. Visit com to see your state’s relevant seat belt and child restraint laws.
Shaw also addresses some additional common questions she receives, such as “When is my child old enough to sit up front?” on her blog page.
As part of the campaign, this Saturday, Sept. 23, has been designated “National Seat Check Saturday.” Drivers with children are invited to visit a child safety seat inspection station to have a certified technician inspect car seats for proper installation and proper use for free.
And if you’re thinking, “I’m a long-time parent, I understand how to install car seats,” consider this: NHTSA reports that car seats are installed incorrectly 59% of the time. So, please, take advantage of those free technicians this Saturday. In the meantime, remember to carefully follow the installation instructions included with a car seat as well as the vehicle owner’s manual. And know that all children under 13 should always ride in the back seat.
Read more on car seats and seat belt use from the eDriving family:
- “Seat Belt Usage: Know the Facts” on IDriveSafely.com
- “New Research Reveals Safety Concerns for Newborns In Car Seats” on OneMoreSecond.net
- “Know Before You Go: Who’s In my Car?” on DriversEd.com