According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46% of all car seats are misused. To help combat this issue, NHTSA and DHEC are recognizing Child Passenger Safety Week from September 20-26, 2020, a campaign dedicated to helping parents and caregivers make sure their children ride as safely as possible — every trip, every time.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, according to NHTSA, and while fatalities declined from 2017 to 2018 (the most recent data available), there is still work to be done to completely eliminate these preventable tragedies. Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference in saving lives.
Children are often moved to the front seat before they should, which increases the risk of injury and death, even if that child is buckled up. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat. NHTSA reported that, in 2015, about 25.8% of children 4 to 7 who should have been riding in booster seats were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 11.6% were unbuckled altogether.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and national reports show that approximately 90% of all child safety seats are installed incorrectly.
DHEC’s Child Passenger Safety Program works to prevent injuries and fatalities. The program provides more than 50 child passenger safety events statewide each year. Additionally, they facilitate more than 50 presentations annually to college education majors, doctors’ offices, faith-based organizations and school improvement councils to educate individuals about child safety seat usage and to promote the primary seatbelt law.
How you can install your child’s car seat safely:
Use rear facing child seats for children from birth to 20 pounds AND one year of age. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends leaving children facing the rear until they reach the maximum rear facing weight of their convertible car seat.
Use forward facing child seats for children over 20 pounds and one year of age to 40 pounds.
Use belt positioning booster seats for children from 40 pounds to 80-100 pounds.
Use seat belts for children when they are able to utilize the seat belt correctly when the shoulder belt crosses the collarbone and the lap belt fits low on the hips. Approximately 4′ 9” tall and 80-100 pounds.