News and Articles

Child Passenger Safety Week

February 7, 2006

The importance of child safety while transporting children will be reinforced during Child Passenger Safety week on Feb. 12-18. REMSA would like to remind people that motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children ages 1 to 14. But children ages 4 to 8 who use booster seats and safety belts are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a car crash than children who are restrained only by a safety belt.

Children need to be in the appropriate restraint for their size and age. One study showed that children ages 2 to 5 who are moved to safety belts too early are four times more likely to sustain a serious head injury than those restrained in booster seats. In an accident, the shoulder strap of a safety belt will hit a child shorter than 4’ 9”across the neck or face rather than the chest, and there is also a greater risk of internal injury because an adult belt hits across the child’s stomach rather than his/her lap. Booster seats protect children in the event of a crash because it raises them up and positions them so that adult safety belts fit over their chests and hips properly.

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:

1. Use rear-facing infant seats in the back seat from birth to at least one year of age and at least 20 pounds.
2. Use forward-facing toddler seats in the back seat from age one and 20 pounds to about age four and 40 pounds.
3. 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.
4. 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 and should never ride in front of an air bag, if it can be avoided. Nevada and California law requires that children must be in a booster seat until they are age six and at least 60 pounds.

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, which are designed to fit adults, won’t fully restrain a child in a crash.

So, this year, during National Child Passenger Safety Week, REMSA is working hard to remind all parents, grandparents, child care providers and other adults in charge of children, to always remember that if their kids are less than 4’9’ tall, they need a booster seat.

Some parents or caregivers may regard booster seats as a hassle to use or a pain to convince their children to use. But we want to remind them this year at Valentine’s that truly protecting the ones they love means getting past the temporary complaints and perceived hassles because their children’s lives are really at risk.

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