Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont urges parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed at the third annual “National Seat Check Saturday,” on Saturday Sept. 12. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to provide hands-on instruction for installing car seats and booster seats at Babies “R” Us on Hanes Mall Blvd. from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s the responsibility of every parent and caregiver to make sure their children are safely restrained – every trip, every time and at every age,” said Donna Joyner, R.N., trauma/burn outreach coordinator at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and coordinator of Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont. “We are urging everyone to have their child checked to be sure they are using the right restrain -- a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes.”
According to a 2008 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of child restraints declines as children get older. From birth to 12 months, 99 percent of children ride in a restraint. Usage drops to 92 percent for kids ages 1 to 3. For kids ages 4 to 7, 89 percent are restrained. But only 85 percent of kids ages 8 to 12 ride in a car restraint system, according to the study.
“Parents need to set the rules and stay vigilant,” Joyner said. “Booster seats and seat belts are just as important for older kids as car seats are for younger kids.”
Parents and caregivers should follow a few basic guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect their children in a vehicle:
- For the best possible protection keep infants in a back seat, rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible -- up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. Never turn a child forward-facing before age 1 and at least 20 pounds, although keeping them rear-facing until age 2 is safer and preferred if the seat allows.
- When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seat, in a back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular harnessed seat. Many newer seats exceed the old 40-pound weight limit.
- Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride on booster seats, in a back seat, until the vehicle seat belt fits properly.
- Seat belts fit properly when the child can pass the Safety Belt Fit Test: the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, the shoulder belt rests on the shoulder or collar bone and the knees bend naturally at the seat’s edge (usually when the child is between 8 and 12 years old, approximately 4 feet 9 inches tall and 80 to 100 pounds).
- After children fully outgrow their booster seats, they should use the adult seat belts in a back seat.
Donna C. Joyner : firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-713-4587
Rae Bush: email@example.com, 336-713-4587