A few weeks ago, my mother saw a woman riding with two children under the age of two who were not buckled in their child safety seats. She tried to talk to the woman about ways to ensure her children’s safety, but unfortunately, the woman was unreceptive. She should have listened: car crashes are the number one killer of children and 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly.
Child safety seats save lives, but they must be correctly installed. Thankfully, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and the National Safety Council have joined with others to form SeatCheck.org. They’ll help you make sure your car seat is installed correctly. Here’s how you can use this wonderful resource:
* Call 1-866-SEAT CHECK (1-866-732-8243) to get information on free child safety seat inspections. Information is available in Spanish and English.
* Visit SeatCheck.org to find a free child safety seat inspection site near you. The site is also available in Spanish.
Remember, this is important not only for parents of infants and small children, but also for anyone who transports a child in a motor vehicle. If you are not sure what the child restraint laws are in your state, then look them up. Seatcheck.org also provides information on car seat recalls, manufacturers, and more. And don’t forget to make sure you have a car seat when you rent a car. Finally, if the cost of a car seat is prohibitive, call your local department of motor vehicles. Your state may have a program that provides free or reduced price car seats to those who qualify.
What if you have an older child? Then BoosterSeat.gov is for you. Just enter your child’s age, weight and height to find out what kind of booster seat she needs. Any child under 4 feet 9 inches tall needs a booster seat. Learn what specific restraints your state requires.
All of this is part of the four steps to child passenger safety:
1. Keep infants in a rear-facing seat until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
2. Then choose forward-facing child safety seats. Let children ride in the back seat, until they
reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and
3. When children outgrow the forward-facing seats, they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat.
4. When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9″ tall)
they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat (For proper fit, the lap belt should lay across the
upper thighs and the shoulder belt should fit across the chest).
So do something good for your child or the child you carry in your car. Get your child safety seat inspected, and keep children safe. Call or visit SeatCheck.org or BoosterSeat.gov today!
“History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.” -Thurgood Marshall, US Supreme Court Justice (1908-1993)