As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Barrow County Emergency Services is emphasizing the importance of securing all children under eight years of age in car seats and booster seats.
“Nearly 3 out of 4 car seats are not used properly, putting children at unnecessary risk of being killed or injured,” said Dr. Patrick O’Neal, Director of the Department of Community Health’s Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response. “Car seats and booster seats, when used correctly in the back seat, are at least 60 percent effective in preventing fatalities.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, 8,959 lives have been saved from 1975 to 2008 by the proper use of child restraints. In 2008, among children under age five in passenger vehicles, an estimated 244 lives were saved by child restraint use (car seats, booster seats, and adult seat belts). Research shows that car seats and booster seats provide the best protection for all children up to age eight.
To increase the odds of surviving a crash, Barrow County Emergency Services offers these tips to help parents determine which restraint system will best protect their children: For the best possible protection, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping infants and toddlers in the back seat, in rear-facing car seats, until they reach the height or weight limit of the particular seat or as they approach two years of age. At the very minimum, keep infants rear-facing until they are at least age one and 20 pounds.
When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing car seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age four and 40 pounds).
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 4’9” tall).
When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).
Experts recommend that children younger than 13 ride in the back seat.
For more information on Child Passenger Safety or to schedule an appointment to have your child’s car seat checked visit www.gahighwaysafety. org and www. safekidsgeorgia.org.