September 18-24 is National Child Passenger Safety Week
Every parent wants the best for their child’s future, and one of the best ways to make sure your child will have a bright future is to be sure that you are correctly using the right car seat for your child and that the seat is correctly installed in your vehicle every time. Keeping your kids safe in vehicles isn’t as easy as it might appear. Most parents think they are using their car seat correctly, but at least three out of four car seats are used incorrectly. For a car seat to best protect your child, it must be one that fits your child, your vehicle, and one that you will use correctly every time you travel. National Child Passenger Safety Week is celebrated Sept. 18-24, which is a great time to make sure your kids are riding safe!
Children are at greater risk than adults in a vehicle crash. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children. Crash data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows that on average, every 33 seconds, one child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash, and 308 are injured every day. Unfortunately in 2015, less than half of the children killed in vehicle crashes in Texas were known to be restrained.
What can you do to secure your child’s safety in the car? Take advantage of the opportunity to have a free car seat inspection during National Child Passenger Safety Week. Securing your children properly in age- and size-appropriate child safety seats — in the back seat of your vehicle — is the most effective thing you can do to protect them in the event of a crash. In fact, in motor vehicle crashes, child safety seats reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. Misuse of car seats can cause needless injuries and fatalities.
Call Kate Whitney at the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331 to set up a free appointment to have your car seat inspected. The inspection will take approximately one hour, and you need to have your safety seat and your child for the inspection.
Follow these guidelines from NHTSA to keep your children riding safely:
- Birth – 12 months: For the best possible protection, your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats; infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
- 1 – 3 years: Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing until age 2 or older. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
- 4 – 7 years: Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
- 8 – 12 years: Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not across the neck or face. Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat.