School is back in session. This means many parents and caregivers are driving their children to and from school, preschool and daycare. Now that school has begun, traffic in towns and cities in Massachusetts and across the United States will increase. An increase in traffic almost always correlates with an increased risk of car accidents and injuries.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of serious injuries in the United States. Serious injuries can have a devastating effect on victims and their families. The loss of a child is among the worst things that can happen to parents and families. This week take a few minutes and make sure your child is in the right car or booster seat and that it’s properly installed. It may just save your child’s life.
What Is Child Passenger Safety Week?
This week (September 15th – 21st) the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsors Child Passenger Safety Week. The purpose of this program is to help keep children safe on the roadways and highways across the United States. They do this by placing emphasis on making sure children are placed in the proper car and booster seats and that the seats are correctly installed and used when driving.
The reason behind this safety awareness program is because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of fatal injuries for children. The NHTSA reported that well over three thousand children under the age of 13 were killed between 2013 and 2017 in crashes while passengers in cars. Improper use of car seats and boosters as well as children not being buckled at all were considered the main reasons for fatal injuries to children in crashes.
The NHTSA found that almost half of all car seats and boosters are improperly installed. Failing to properly install car seats and buckle your child could result in serious and fatal injuries. Experts advised that in 2017 approximately 46 fatally injured children under the age of 5 could have been saved if they were properly buckled in. So, take some time and research your child’s car seat or booster seat and make sure it is properly installed and your child is buckled up before driving. It literally could save your child’s life.
Tips to Help Keep Your Child Safe in the Car
With car crashes being among the leading cause of death for children under the age of 13, you should take the necessary precautions to keep your child safe when driving with them. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Have the Right Car Seat: There are three main types of car seats for children. These are rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats. The type of seat you use for your children depends on the child’s age, height and weight. Parents and caregivers should make sure they are using the right car seat for their children to help keep them safe. There are many studies that prove the right car seat can help keep children safe, even in serious accidents.
- Install Car Seats and Buckle Up Correctly: With the different car seat and booster seat options, they must be correctly installed for maximum safety. Once you decide on the correct seat, make sure you follow the instructions for installation. Life is very busy, but during Child Passenger Safety Week, you can visit a car seat check in your community to confirm that your child’s car seat is properly installed.
- Don’t Forget to Register Your Car Seat: When you purchase a car seat or booster seat for your child, do not forget to register it with the manufacturer. Registering your car seat will allow you to receive important updates, including any defects discovered and safety recalls for your car seat. This way, you can make sure there are no problems or safety concerns with the car seat you purchased for your child.
- Drive Safe & Avoid Distractions: I’m sure everyone knows how distracting children can be in the car. Many times, children cry and fight in the car or demand attention from the driver. This can be very distracting, especially if you are trying to soothe a child or break up a fight with a sibling. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents and injuries. Make sure your focus is on the road and other traffic when driving with children. If there is another adult in the car with you, let them deal with the children when driving or, if necessary, pull over to a safe location.
Following these tips and many others will help keep your children safe when traveling in a car. We know that life is very busy but taking a few minutes to make sure your child is in the right car seat or booster seat and that it is properly installed will help keep your child safe.