Car Seat Inspections Are Focus of Child Passenger Safety Week

As part of a national Child Passenger Safety Week, federal regulators are warning drivers to make sure that car seats and booster seats are properly fitted for their children, and offering a series of inspection centers around the nation to help avoid preventable injuries for children in auto accidents

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched their annual campaign focusing on the risks associated with improperly fitted or installed car seats, and offering a National Seat Check on Saturday, at car seat inspection stations nationwide.

The nationwide “Child Passenger Safety Week” runs from September 23 through September 29, as part of an on-going effort to reduce the risk of serious injuries suffered by children nationwide that could be prevented with a properly installed and used car seats. Parents and caregivers are also urged to register their car seats with the manufacturer, to ensure important safety updates or car seat recall notices are received.

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Approximately 3,268 children under the age of 13 were killed while riding in passenger vehicles from 2012 to 2016, with a steady incline since 2014. More than one-third of those killed were found not to be wearing seatbelts or fastened in any fashion.

NHTSA reports vehicle crashes are the leading cause of fatalities for children under the age of 13 years old, and that properly installing the correct car seat could decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.

Data reviewed from 2016 crashes found car seats were responsible for saving an estimated 328 children under the age of five that were involved in vehicle crashes. Approximately 370 children who were killed in 2016 vehicle crashes could have survived if they had been using the appropriate car seat.

As part of the campaign, NHTSA officials are recommending parents and caregivers who travel in vehicles with children visit their local Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to double-check that their car seats and booster seats are properly installed. NHTSA has created a convenient tool to help caregivers locate their nearest center.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises children should be placed in a rear facing car seat from birth until three years old, or until they outgrow rear-facing seats. They should be placed in a forward facing seat until they reach the heat or weight limit allowed by the car manufacturer, usually from age’s four to seven.

After outgrowing forward-facing seats, the NHTSA recommends parents and caregivers then use a booster seat until a seat belt fits them properly, which means the lap belt should lie snugly across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should fit snugly across the shoulder and chest instead of across the neck or face.

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