MONTGOMERY – Parents and other caregivers travel each day with children in their vehicles. Some are restrained properly. Some are not restrained at all.
Is your little one’s car seat installed properly? Almost half of them are misused, based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Using the wrong type of restraint system for age and/or size is also a problem. It is not uncommon for children to be moved prematurely from rear-facing to forward-facing car seats or to boosters or seat belts, but using the correct restraint is critical, according to NHTSA. To raise awareness, ALEA is participating in National Child Passenger Safety Week, which begins Sunday, Sept. 15, and culminates Saturday, Sept. 21, with National Car Seat Saturday. It is a good time for motorists to ensure their children are riding as safely as possible every trip, every time.
NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight allowed by seat manufacturers. Once children outgrow rear-facing-only “infant” car seats, they should travel in rear-facing “convertibles” or all-in-one car seats. The next stage, when children have outgrown rear-facing size limits, they should be restrained in forward-facing car seats with harnesses (and tethers). They should only be transferred to boosters after outgrowing forward-facing car seats with harnesses. The organization also urges motorists to insist all children travel in the back seat until age 13.
Safety is critical to preventing injuries and fatalities during traffic crashes. This year, as of Friday, Sept. 13, ALEA Troopers have investigated fatal traffic crashes during which three children ages 3 and younger were killed, and two of those three children were not restrained. Have your car seats checked. Be sure your child passengers are as safe as possible.
You may contact the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Prevention, Promotion & Support to schedule an appointment to have a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician check your car seat(s) by calling 334.206.5657.