Child Safety Week starts today
RALEIGH – N.C. Department of Transportation’s Secretary Conti today urged motorists to always properly secure their children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats or seatbelts. He also encourages citizens to participate in child passenger safety clinics being held across the state Sept. 19-25 as part of Child Passenger Safety Week.
“Children are our most precious cargo, and adults have the responsibility to make sure they are always properly secured,” Conti said. “I urge everyone who travels with children to visit one of the free car seat safety clinics going on across the state this week to have their car seats checked by a certified technician.”
New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics advise parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until at least age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises children should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap or shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
Many more children are properly secured today than in 1981 when the child passenger safely law went into effect. In 1981 about 10 percent of the children involved in crashes were in car seats or wearing seatbelts. In 2009 more than 90 percent of children involved in crashes were reported to have been buckled up. While the rate of deaths in motor vehicle crashes for children under age 16 has decreased substantially in North Carolina (dropping 85 percent between 1981 and 2009), it is still the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and older.
In conjunction with Child Passenger Safety Week, local Safe Kids coalitions and Buckle Up Kids programs will conduct child passenger safety clinics to teach parents and other caregivers how to use their car seats properly. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to attend CPS Week events during the week of Sept. 19-25 to have their seats checked by a certified technician.
For more information about the proper use of car seats and seat belts, visit www.buckleupnc.org. For a complete listing of CPS Week clinics and other events, refer to the “Local CPS Events Calendar” link. To find “year-round” child passenger safety programs and permanent car seat checking stations in your county, click on the “Find local programs and checking stations” link.