Monday, September 20, 2010

Car Seat Inspections Offered Nationwide as Part of Child Passenger Safety Week

From Savannah to Kennesaw, car seat inspections will happen at many points throughout Georgia on Saturday, September 25.

/PRNewswire/ -- Safe Kids USA and its network of coalitions will inspect thousands of child safety seats during Child Passenger Safety Week (September 19-25) by conducting more than 400 car seat checkup events for families and their children across the nation. Nationally certified child passenger safety technicians will lead the inspection events and deliver hands-on education to parents and caregivers throughout the week.

In partnership with the General Motors Foundation since 1997, Safe Kids Buckle Up, the child passenger safety program of Safe Kids USA, has inspected 1.28 million car seats; held approximately 65,000 car seat checkup events around the country; donated more than 457,000 car seats to families in need and educated more than 21 million parents and caregivers.

Research shows that as children age, they are less likely to be in the appropriate child safety seat for their age and weight," said Torine Creppy, Director of Safe Kids USA Buckle Up programs. "Safe Kids USA would like to change that by helping assure that each child in a vehicle is properly protected. Every child deserves to grow up safely, and we are pleased to work through our coalitions at the state and local levels to promote and improve child safety in vehicles during this week."

Safe Kids coalitions will also join the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in activities to support Seat Check Saturday on September 25.

"When it comes to child passenger safety, there is absolutely no room for error. It's critical that parents and caregivers understand how to properly install their child seats in their vehicles," said Administrator David Strickland, U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "We urge parents to visit one of the thousands of seat check sites across the nation to ensure kids are safely buckled up – every trip, every time."

Checkup events will be held in locations convenient for families. Parents and caregivers can locate a Safe Kids Buckle Up checkup event in their community by visiting

"General Motors commends the many committed members of the Safe Kids community and their partners who dedicate their time and expertise to improve child safety during this week of focus and throughout the year," said Michael J. Robinson, General Motors vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety Policy.

A 2008 report from NHTSA shows that children from birth to age 1 were in a car seat 99 percent of the time. Children from ages 1-3 were in car seats 92 percent of the time and kids 4-7 were in seats 89 percent of the time. Sadly, as kids get to be between 8-12 they ride in a restraint only 85 percent of the time.

Also according to NHTSA, child safety seats reduce the risk of death for infants (under 1 year old) in a vehicle crash by 71 percent, and reduce the risk to toddlers (1 to 4 years old) by 54 percent. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws requiring children to be restrained while riding in cars.

Parents and caregivers should follow a few basic guidelines to determine which restraint system is best suited to protect their children in a vehicle:

* For the best possible protection, keep infants in a back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible—up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. Never turn a child forward-facing before age 1 and at least 20 pounds, although keeping kids rear-facing until at least age 2 is safer and preferred if the seat allows.
* When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in a back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular harnessed seat. Many newer seats exceed the old 40 pound weight limit.
* 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 rests on the shoulder or collar bone (usually when the child is between 8 and 12 years old, approximately 4'9" tall and 80 to 100 pounds).

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