Safe Kids Rhode Island announced today that certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will be offering free car seat safety checks and education to parents and caregivers on Saturday, September 24, 2022, beginning at 11am at the Warwick Mall, 400 Bald Hill Road, Warwick, RI.
Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) partners with local communities to hold Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from September 18-24. The annual safety week caps off with National Seat Check Saturday, a day for parents and caregivers to receive free instruction on how to correctly install and use the right car seats for their kids. Technicians will help determine if your children are in the right seats for their ages and sizes and explain the importance of registering car seats with the manufacturers so you can be notified if there is a recall.
“Most parents think their kids are in the right seats and that the seats are installed the right way,” said Diana Gugliotta, Senior Manager of Public Affairs, “but the reality is that nearly half of car seats are installed incorrectly, leaving kids vulnerable to injury in a crash. National Seat Check Saturday is an opportunity for parents to make sure their children are safe in their car seats and booster seats.” Sadly, two children under 13 were killed every day in 2020 while riding in vehicles, and another 278 were injured. “Don’t wait for a crash to happen to find out if your child’s seat is installed correctly. At that point, it’s too late to check,” Gugliotta added. “Let an expert check for you so you can have that peace of mind.”
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children, and the latest research from NHTSA shows that 46% of car seats are misused. Using age- and size-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce crash fatalities among children. More than a third of children 12 and younger who died in crashes in 2020 in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs were unbuckled.
From 2016 to 2020, there were 1,721 “tweens” (8 to 14 years old) killed in passenger vehicles, and in 2020 alone, the 8- to 12-year-old age group had the highest number of fatalities (216) among children in passenger vehicles. Booster seats are a critical step between harness car seats and adult seat belts. If the seat belt doesn’t fit your child correctly, it won’t offer them the optimal protection in a crash.
There is a deadly misconception that a certain type of vehicle may offer greater protection for your child. In 2020, 53% of the children killed while riding in light trucks were unrestrained, followed closely by SUVs (46%), passenger cars (34%), and vans (34%). Children are safest when correctly secured in the right car seats or booster seats for their ages and sizes — no matter the vehicle type. A bigger vehicle doesn’t mean your child can ride unbuckled.
One of the most common mistakes parents and caregivers make with car seats is moving their children to the next seat or position too soon. Keep children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by their particular seats. The recommendations are based on decades of research that have shown the safest way for children to ride in vehicles. Once a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. The tether is 100% essential for installing a forward-facing car seat; it keeps the seat from moving forward in a crash. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be buckled in a booster seat until tall enough to fit in an adult seat belt properly. Children might ask to ditch the booster seat because it makes them feel older to ride without it, but the truth is: their safety is what matters most. Once your child is ready to use a seat belt, ensure that it fits correctly, and remember that the safest place for all kids under 13 is buckled up in the back seat.
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