This press release sent out at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (DOH-Alachua).
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half (46%) of car seats are misused. To help combat this issue, NHTSA is sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week from September 15, to September 21, 2019. This campaign is dedicated to helping parents and caregivers make sure their children ride as safely as possible.
“Every 32 seconds in 2017, a child under 13 was involved in a passenger vehicle crash,” said Jaime Lambert, Program Manager and Child Passenger Safety Technician for the Car Seat Safety Program at the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. “Using car seats that are age and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe.” According to NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, and while fatalities and injuries declined in 2017 from 2016, there is still work to be done to 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,” she said. “Car seats matter, and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical. 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. Also, according to NHTSA, in 2015, about 25.8 percent of children 4 to 7 who should have been riding in booster seats were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 11.6 percent were unbuckled altogether.
NHTSA recommends keeping 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 a 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 a harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seat belts safely. If children are under 13 years old, they should always sit in the back seat.
Parents should register car seats or booster seats with the seat manufacturer so that they can be notified in the event of a recall.
Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified technician at the NHTSA car seat and booster seat website.
For more information, contact Jaime Lambert at 352-225-4370.