September is Child Passenger Safety Month, with Child Passenger Safety Week running this week from September 15 through September 21, 2013. Child Passenger Safety Month intends to bring public attention to the importance of properly securing all children in appropriate child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts every time they are riding in a passenger vehicle.
On Saturday, September 21 – National Seat Check Saturday – certified child passenger safety technicians will inspect car seats and show parents and caregivers how to correctly install and use them at more than 600 events in 45 states across the country. In most cases, the car seat inspections are free of charge.
Given that motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children, child passenger safety is of utmost importance. In 2011, almost two children under the age of 13 were killed and 338 were injured every day while riding in a car or other passenger vehicle. According to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than a third of children under age 13 who died in fatal auto accidents in 2011 were not in car seats or wearing seat belts.
Child Passenger Safety Tips
Parents and caregivers are reminded of the following safety measures to protect children while riding in a car or other motor vehicle:
- Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.
- Children 2 years or older who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed their car seat’s manufacturer.
- Children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
- When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use a lap and shoulder seat belt, with children younger than 13 years of age in the rear seat of the vehicle.
- Make sure to read the instructions and labels that come with your child’s car seat and read the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on installing the seat in your particular vehicle.
- Visit your local car seat inspection station to have your seat checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
- Use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) restraint system or seat belt to install your car seat and use the top tether to secure forward-facing car seats.
- Register your car seat and booster seat at SaferCar.gov so you will be informed if there is a safety recall on your model.
- Always wear your own seat belt to set a good example. In Illinois, all passengers – both back seat and front seat passengers – are required to use seat belts.
The Chicago auto accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are committed to keeping motorists and passengers safe and helping auto accident victims obtain full and fair financial recovery. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to learn more child passenger safety or to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago auto accident lawyers.