Free Resources Help Parents Ensure Children’s Safety
State Partners Highlight Car Seat Safety During Child Passenger Safety Week
TOPEKA – Every day in America, millions of parents and caregivers take to the road with children in their vehicles. While many children are buckled up in the right car seat for their ages and sizes – nearly half (46 percent) are not, and some aren’t buckled up at all. Child Passenger Safety Week is September 15-21, 2019, and Safe Kids Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation and Kansas Highway Patrol want to ensure children ride as safely as possible—every trip, every time.
“Every 32 seconds in 2017, a child under 13 was involved in a motor vehicle crash,” said Colonel Herman T. Jones, Kansas Highway Patrol. “Using a car seat that fits your child and your vehicle is the best way to keep your children safe.” According to NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children. While fatalities and injuries declined from 2016 to 2017, there is still work to be done to completely eliminate these preventable tragedies. Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference. “In 2017, there were 312 children under the age of 5 saved because they were using restraints,” said Col. Jones. “Car seats matter.”
Too often, parents move their children to the front seat before they should, which increases the risk of injury and death, even if they are buckled up. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat.
“As parents and caregivers, we have a long list of things we do for our children to show our love. One of the simplest and most important things on the list should be to make sure they are in the right car seat for their age and size,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “Get your car seats checked. Make certain they’re installed correctly, and that your kids are in the right seats and are buckled in correctly. Even if you think your child’s car seat is installed correctly, get it checked with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, so you can be sure that your child is the safest he or she can be while traveling.” To find a car seat inspection station near you, visit www.kansascarseatcheck.org.
According to a 2018-19 observational survey, if the driver is belted, about 97% of the observed children are belted too. If the driver is not belted, about 30% of the observed children are belted.
“Drivers play an important role in not only getting to a destination safely, but ensuring all passengers are buckled up,” said Julie Lorenz, Kansas Secretary of Transportation. “Seat belts are for everyone because your life and your passenger’s lives depend on it.”
For optimal safety, it is recommended to keep children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible,” or all-in-one car seat. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness (always use the tether). After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seat belts safely. And if children are under 13 years old, they should always sit in the back seat.
Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can find more information on how to choose and use car seats safely at www.ultimatecarseatguide.org.