This week is Child Passenger Safety week. Presented in conjunction by the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland and Safe Kids CEO Kate Carr, the event aims to educate parents and caregivers on proper use of child safety seats. Motor vehicle accidents happen all of the time making it extremely important that children are properly protected.
A survey recently conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that parents make five major mistakes when using car seats and booster seats including wrong harness slot used; incorrect placement of harness chest clip; loose car seat installation; loose harness; and incorrect seat belt placement. Adding to these errors, 20 percent of drivers of child passengers did not ready any instructions on how to properly install child restraints.
To help keep kids safe, Safe Kids and the NHTSA recommend everyone take 15 minutes to conduct an at-home checkup by doing the following:
- Read the vehicle and car seat instruction manuals for your specific model.
- Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for you child’s age, weight and height.
- Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. When you move to a forward-facing car seat, make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors.
- After you install the car seat, shake it at the base. If it moves more than an inch to one side or the other, or to the front or back, it is not installed correctly.
- Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots. With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, your harness is installed correctly.
- Keep kids in the back seat until they are 13 years of age.
Child Passenger Safety week kicked off on September 16 and goes through September 22 culminating with National Seat Check Saturday.
Safe Kids, “U.S. DOT and Safe Kids Kick-off Child Passenger Safety Week with New Survey on Common Car Seat Mistakes,” 17 September 2012