Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children ages 2-14. “The use of belt-positioning booster seats lowers the risk of injury to children in crashes by 59 percent compared to the use of vehicle seat belts.” The finding comes from a study of children ages 4 through 7 by Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS), a State Farm-funded research project at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
While 94 percent of America’s toddlers are now regularly restrained, not enough kids ages 4-8 are properly and safely restrained. Only 10-20 percent of kids ages 4-8 who should be using booster seats to protect them are actually in them. This puts children at an unnecessary risk of being injured or killed in crashes because they are simply in the wrong restraint for their size.
This year the week will be observed from February 8-14, 2009. This is a change from the observance in September in prior years.
As children grow, how they sit in your car, truck, van or SUV should also change. For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers simply need to remember and follow the 4 Steps for Kids:
- Use rear-facing infant seats in the back seat from birth to at least one year of age and at least 20 pounds;
- Use forward-facing toddler seats in the back seat from age one and 20 pounds to about age four and 40 pounds;
- Use booster seats in the back seat from about age four to at least age eight – unless the child is 4 ft. 9 inches or taller and
- Use safety belts in the back seat at age eight or older or taller than 4 ft. 9 inches. All children age 12 or younger should ride in the back seat.
Many parents are under the false impression that children who have outgrown child safety seats can move right into safety belts, but nothing could be further from the truth. Safety belts, are designed to fit adults, and won’t fully restrain a child in a crash. Using a booster seat will better protect your child from being thrown from the vehicle, or thrown around inside it, during a crash.
Other parents or caregivers may regard booster seats as a hassle to use. But truly protecting the ones we love means getting past the temporary complaints and perceived hassles because the lives of our children are really at risk.
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