Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 – 13 years. Every 34 seconds one child, under age 13, is involved in a crash. Car seats, booster seats and seat belts offer the best protection for children in crashes. In fact, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers in cars.
The aforementioned statistics illustrate why it is imperative for children to be properly secured in vehicles. But, oftentimes, parents are not educated on the child safety seat laws – which can vary by state. Additionally, parents may use the proper seat, but fail to install it correctly – which can put their children at grave risk for serious injury or death.
This week, September 14 -20, is Child Passenger Safety Week. During this time, many communities will have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on-hand to provide free education on how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for children. Technicians can also help educate consumers about choosing the right car seat for their child, the importance of registering car seats with the manufacturer, and what to expect should that seat be subject to a safety recall.
The week concludes with National Seat Check Saturday on September 20, when certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will be available at car seat events across the country to offer advice and instruction. To find an inspection site in your area, click here.
It is important to note that most fire departments, hospitals (especially pediatric hospitals) and local Department of Transportation offices offer car seat inspections and installation checks throughout the year. You can search these locations using the link above, as well.
While safety belts offer excellent protection for adults, they are not designed to keep children safe in the event of a motor vehicle accident. The Missouri Child Passenger Restraint Law states the following rules:
1. LESS THAN 4 YEARS OLD – This act requires children less than four years old, regardless of weight, to use an appropriate child passenger restraint system.
2. LESS THAN 40 POUNDS – The act requires children weighing less than 40 pounds, regardless of age, to be secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for the child.
3. LESS THAN 8 YEARS OLD/80 POUNDS OR UNDER 4’9″ – Children (ages 4-7) and who weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds, and are less than 4’9″ tall must be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat appropriate for that child.
4. GREATER THAN 80 POUNDS OR TALLER THAN 4’9″ – Children who are at least 80 pounds or children taller than 4’9″ shall be secured by a vehicle safety belt or booster seat appropriate for that child.
5. LESS THAN 13 – All children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat whenever possible.
If you’re in the market for any type of child safety seat, your first step should be to research the laws in your state. Next, do your homework by researching types of seats, installation, ease of use ratings, registration and recalls. All of this information and more can be found here.
Casey & Devoti encourages everyone who transports children – parents, grandparents and caregivers – to follow the child passenger restraint laws in your state. Additionally, everyone should ensure that children are riding in an appropriate safety seat for their age and size, and that it is installed correctly. If there is any question or doubt, take the time to have your child safety seat inspected for proper fit and installation.