By Tanya Mohn, Setember 22, 2013
More than a third of children under age 13 who died in passenger
vehicle crashes in 2011 were not in car seats or wearing seat belts.
The announcement, made last week by the Department of
Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
to coincide with in Child Passenger Safety Week and to highlight the
important safety benefits associated with the proper use of child
restraints like car seats, booster seats and seat belts.
“Parents and caregivers can be the first line of defense by ensuring
their children are correctly secured in the right seat for their size
and age, and by buckling up themselves,” U.S. Transportation Secretary
Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children.
In 2011, almost two children under the age of 13 were killed and 338
were injured every day while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans, the
Of the children killed in 2011, the percentage of fatalities in which
there were no car seat or seat belt, varied by vehicle type, with
greater percentages of unrestrained fatalities occurring in larger
vehicles: SUVs (55 percent), pick-ups (43 percent), vans (40 percent),
and cars (24 percent).
But regardless of the size of the vehicle, the age of the child, or
the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained,
David Strickland, NHTSA’s administrator wrote on Fast Lane, the official blog of the Department of Transportation.
“Car seats, when correctly installed and used, provide proven
life-saving and injury-reducing benefits for child passengers. In fact,
properly used car seats decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent
for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.”
“Children are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a booster seat than if they were using seat belts only,” he added.
From 1975 through 2011, NHTSA estimates that approximately 10,000
lives were saved by child restraints for children under the age of 5 in
passenger vehicles, with more than 260 lives saved in 2011 alone.
The agency offers resources and safety tips to parents, guardians and caregivers:
Visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat to determine if the seat is the right one for the child’s age and size. The link also provides how-to videos.
Read the instructions and labels that come with the car seat, and
read the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on installing
the seat in a particular vehicle
Use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) restraint
system or seat belt to install the car seat and use the top tether to
secure forward-facing car seats
Register the car seat and booster seat at SaferCar.gov to be informed if there is a safety recall on a particular model
Always wear a seat belt to set a good example. Unbuckled drivers are more likely to have unrestrained children in the car.
Go to your local car seat inspection station
to have seats checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician
who will show how to: correctly install and use them, help determine if
children are ready to move up from car seats to booster seats and from
booster seats to seat belts; and help make sure car seats are
registered, important in case they are recalled. Local LOCM -0.99% car seat check event information is also available by downloading the free SaferCar app from the iTunes App Store.
The service is available year-round, by appointment, and is usually free of charge.