This week brings awareness to passenger safety, specifically for children, with Child Passenger Safety Week. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 33 seconds one child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash. That is an alarming amount if you think of the number of deaths and injuries that are the result of those crashes. Many times, death and injury are preventable if the child is using the appropriate safety features including car seats, boosters, and seat belts.
Child passenger safety deals with appropriate car seats, safety belts and event considers other issues such as children being left in a hot car. According to the National Safety Council, "dozens of children die every year in hot cars” especially in the heat of the summer between June and August. Some are forgotten in a vehicle and some are even playing unattended in a vehicle.
There are steps we can all take in keeping children safe. The National Safety Council offers these tips on child passenger safety:
- Read the NSC position statement on child restraints, which addresses child passenger safety among multiple modes of transportation
- Take advantage of car seat safety checks held nationwide during National Child Passenger Safety Week
- If you're pregnant, schedule a car seat installation with a certified child passenger safety technician before the child is born
- Children should ride in the back seat at least through age 12
- If your kids complain about wearing seat belts, don't negotiate; don't drive off until they buckle up
- Always be consistent and wear your seat belt; driver safety belt use strongly influences whether your child will buckle up
- All 50 states require child seats with specific criteria; here is a list of child passenger safety laws by state, but too often, state laws don't go far enough
- The life of a car seat is from six to eight years; recalls for child seat manufacturers for the past 10 years can be found here
- Air bags can save the lives of older children and adults, but they can be fatal for young children
Remember, as adults, we are the examples to children who are around us. Practicing safety, wearing our seat belts, and communicating the importance of safety can go a long way in helping children learn and develop positive habits. Stay safe and help spread awareness for child safety.
One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!
(Graphic from CPSBoard.org)