WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Three out of four child safety seats are improperly installed in vehicles, according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s why Safe Kids of Forsyth County is urging parents and caregivers to get their safety seats checked on Friday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Babies R Us on Hanes Mall Boulevard.
“It’s the responsibility of every parent and caregiver out there to make sure their children are safely restrained – every trip, every time,” said Donna Joyner, R.N., director of Safe Kids, which is affiliated with Brenner Children’s Hospital of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. “We are urging everyone to get their child safety seats inspected. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes.”
According to NHTSA research, 8,325 lives of children under age 5 have been saved by the proper use of child restraints over the past 30 years. In 2006 among children under 5, an estimated 425 lives were saved by child restraint use. Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8; after age 8 seat belts provide the best protection.
For maximum child passenger safety, Joyner said, parents and caregivers should refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4 feet 9 inches tall).
4. When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly.
This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, a national effort to remind parents and caregivers of the lifesaving effect child safety seats have in protecting young children. For more information, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.
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