Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week is September 15-21, 2013, with National Seat Check Saturday occurring on September 21. This annual observance brings child safety advocates together to help educate families on the importance of selecting the right car seat for their child and how to use it correctly.
“The safety of our children across the state relies on their caretakers. It is important that we as adults work to make sure they are kept safe as they travel our state’s roads,” Colonel Ernest Garcia, Superintendent of the Patrol said.
In support of the week, for the 14th consecutive year, the Kansas Motor Carriers Association (KMCA) will make a life-saving donation to the Patrol in the form of child safety seats to be dispersed statewide. Their donation of 105 child safety seats will be on Tuesday, September 17.
According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, children are much more likely to be buckled up if the driver is also belted. If the driver is belted, about 95% of the children will buckle up as well. If the driver is not belted, only about 30% of the observed children were belted. In KDOT’s annual observational study of safety seat usage, 97% of kids ages 0-4 were in the proper safety device, while only 82% of those ages 5-9 were in the proper safety restraint, and the number lowered to 79% for those ages 10-14.
“Even at a young age, children observe and repeat our actions. Set a positive example, buckle up and make sure everyone else is properly restrained, every trip, every time,” said Chris Bortz, KDOT Traffic Safety Manager.
“Car seat inspections offer drivers the chance to receive help and guidance from certified car seat technicians on how to correctly install their children’s safety and booster seats,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas.
Car seat inspection stations and events are scheduled throughout the year across Kansas. To find an inspection station near you, visit www.kansascarseatcheck.org. Parents can also check their own car and booster seats by using the car seat check list. Certified child passenger safety technicians are available to help or double check your work, especially if you run into challenges. The car seat checklist can be found at: www.safekids.org/other-resource/car-seat-checklist-parents-pdf.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-13 in the United States. The best way to keep children protected should they be involved in a crash is by using the appropriate child safety seat.
NHTSA recommends some key lessons in keeping your child safe and in the proper child safety seat:
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age, height, and weight.
- Keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as your child fits the seat’s height and weight requirements.
- All children under 13 should ride in the back seat.
- NHTSA also recommends following the instructions that come with the child’s seat, and the vehicle’s instruction manual for proper installation.
The Patrol has troopers who are certified to inspect child safety seats for proper installation. They check installation free of charge. To set up an appointment, contact your local Kansas Highway Patrol Troop Headquarters. To find the nearest headquarters, and a phone number, go to: http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/field_op/troops.html .
The Kansas Motor Carriers Association is dedicated to all passengers’ safety on Kansas roads. To find more information on their safety events, go to: http://www.kmca.org/node/22 .