CHARLESTON, WV — Governor Jim Justice has proclaimed September 19-25 as Child Passenger Safety Week in West Virginia. The proclamation was requested by the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP), which is working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as part of the national observation for Child Passenger Safety Week. The week is dedicated to educating parents and caregivers about the importance of correctly choosing, installing, and using car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
“With school in session and sports underway, I know life is busy for many West Virginia families. I encourage you to take an hour or so out of this safety week to double and triple check your child’s car seat or booster seat. Make sure our most precious cargo is as safe as can be,” said Gov. Justice.
“We know parents and caregivers have a lot on their plates, so we hope that Child Passenger Safety Week will provide an opportunity for parents and caregivers to take a little time to ensure their child is as safe as possible when in a car, truck, van or SUV,” said Amy Boggs, Child Passenger Safety Program Coordinator for the GHSP.
“Tragically, two children under 13 years of age were killed every day in 2019 in the U.S. while riding in vehicles. No parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to a child’s safety. Parents: Don’t think you know, know you know that your kids are secured correctly in their car seats,” Boggs continued.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, and the latest research from NHTSA shows that nearly half (46%) of car seats are misused. Boggs added that using size- and age-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce these deaths.
“More than one-third of children 12 and younger who died in crashes in 2019 while riding in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs were not properly secured – whether in a car seat or with a seat belt. Many of those kids could have survived if they had been properly secured in the vehicle,” Boggs concluded.
From 2015 to 2019, there were 1,709 “tweens” (8 to 14 years old) killed in passenger vehicles, and in 2019 alone, the 8-12-year-old age group had the highest number of fatalities (229) among children in passenger vehicles. It is critical that parents and caregivers ensure that, if a child is too large or old for a car seat, they are first put into a booster seat until the seat belt can fit correctly.
Car Seats Versus Booster Seats
There is also a deadly misconception that a certain type of vehicle may offer greater protection for your child. In 2019, 47% of unrestrained children killed in vehicle crashes were riding in vans, followed closely by SUVs (42%), and light trucks (42%). Children are safest when correctly secured in the right car seat or booster seat for their size — no matter the vehicle type. No matter how safe you think your vehicle may be, it is never safe, nor legal, to let your child ride unbuckled.
NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by the particular seats. It’s the best way to keep them safe. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be placed in a booster seat until she or he is tall enough to fit in a seat belt properly.
Booster seats are an essential step between car seats and seat belts. These transitional seats position the seat belt so it fits properly over the stronger parts of your child’s body. Don’t feel pressured to put your child in a seat belt too soon. If your child is ready to use a seat belt, ensure the seat belt fits correctly. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat.
Learn About Car Seat Safety Virtually
Child Passenger Safety Week ends with National Seat Check Saturday on September 25, 2021. The GHSP facilitates Child Passenger Safety year-round with fitting stations across West Virginia which are staffed with nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who have been specifically trained on child car seat installation and other safety measures. To find a fitting station nearest you, visit www.dmv.wv.gov/cps.
Parents and caregivers can access the many free, online resources available at https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats. Other resources on this site include the following:
- Car Seat Types: Determine whether your child fits best in a rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
- Car Seat Recommendations: Review NHTSA’s recommendations for the best car seat for your child’s age and size.
- Find and Compare: Find and compare car seats with NHTSA’s handy car seat finder, which also searches specific brands.
For more information on child car seat safety, as well as how to find other virtual car seat check events, go to www.nhtsa.gov/therightseat. For more information about the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, visit www.dmv.wv.gov/ghsp or call 304-926-2509.
Source: EIN Presswire