September 16, 2022
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September 24 is National Seat Check Saturday
Cheyenne, WY — Safe Kids Laramie County announced today that certified child passenger safety technicians will be offering free car seat safety checks and education to parents and other caregivers on September 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Town & Country Supermarket Liquors, 516 S. Greeley Highway.
Every year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) partners with local communities to hold Child Passenger Safety Week, which this year runs from September 18-24.
The 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 children are in the right seats for their ages and sizes and explain the importance of registering car seats with the manufacturers so parents and caregivers 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 Victoria Ingerle, Safe Kids Laramie County’s injury prevention coordinator. “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.”
Two children under 13 years of age were killed every day in the United States 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,” Ingerle said. “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 the NHTSA shows that 46 percent of car seats are misused.
Ingerle said that 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 U.S. crashes in 2020 in cars, pickups, vans and SUVs were unbuckled. Never let your children ride unbuckled—the consequences could be devastating,” Ingerle said.
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 in the U.S.
“Booster seats are a critical step between harness car seats and adult seat belts,” Ingerle said. “If the seat belt doesn’t fit your child correctly, it won’t offer them the optimal protection in a crash.”
Car Seats: Myths and Mistakes
Ingerle said that there is a deadly misconception that a certain type of vehicle may offer greater protection for a child.
In 2020, 53 percent of the children killed in the U.S. while riding in light trucks were unrestrained, followed closely by SUVs (46 percent), passenger cars (34 percent) and vans (34 percent).
“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,” Ingerle said.
Ingerle said that 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,” Ingerle said.
Ingerle said that 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, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. The tether is 100 percent 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 not to use the booster seat because it makes them feel older to ride without it, but their safety is what matters most.
- Once a 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.
How to Learn More about Car Seat Safety
The NHTSA encourages everyone who drives child passengers to check out its list of free, online resources at www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats:
- Car Seat Types: Determine whether a 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 a 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 car seat check events, go to www.nhtsa.gov/therightseat.