Chattanooga,Tenn.– Children’s Hospital’s Safe and Sound program and Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area Coalition urges parents and caregivers to have their child’s car seat checked during National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 18-24. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to inspect car seats and provide free hands-on advice at a number of locations during the week.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released updated car seat recommendations for children through age 12,” said Cindy Jackson, Safe and Sound program coordinator. “We want to help parents and caregivers do all they can to best protect their child when traveling. During Child Passenger Safety Week, we urge everyone to have their car seat checked by a certified technician. When it comes to the safety of your child, there is no room for mistakes.”
Safe and Sound car seat technicians will be available at the following times and locations during National Child Passenger Safety Week.
- Sunday, September 18 – 2:30-5:30 p.m. @CoolidgePark– Celebration of Hope event – Child Passenger Safety information on new guidelines – not checking seats
- Tuesday, September 20 – 5-7 pm @ Safe & Sound office (behind e-Kids at Erlanger’s downtown campus onCentral Avenue)– Seat checks
- Wednesday, September 21 – 10 a.m.-Noon @ Women’s at Erlanger East off of Gunbarrel Road– Seat checks
- Saturday, September 24 – 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. @ Kohl’s inCleveland– Seat checks
In motor vehicle crashes, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children younger than 1 and by 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4 in passenger cars, according to data collected by NHTSA. In 2009 alone, 754 children 12 years old or younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes while riding in passenger cars or light trucks. And among those who were fatally injured, 42 percent were unrestrained. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented if the children were in the right restraint for their age and size.
The updated recommendations emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next type.
Birth – 12 months
For the best possible protection, your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1 – 3 years: Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
4 – 7 years: Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8 – 12 years : Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
- Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
- To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
- Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
For more information on scheduled events for car seat checks throughout the year, please call the Erlanger Safe and Sound office at (423) 778-6691.