Child Passenger Safety Week begins on September 17th and ends on September 23th, 2017, with National Seat Check Saturday.
What Is Child Passenger Safety Week?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council teamed up to create Child Passenger Safety Week which strives to prevent child car crash injuries and fatalities.
Through public service announcements, they are urging parents and caregivers to make sure their children always use the car seats, booster seats, or seat belts that are appropriate for the child's age, height, and weight. These public service announcements are on the radio, billboards, and web banners.
The National Child Passenger Safety Board, a division of the National Safety Council, provides information on resources and events that will be taking place during Child Passenger Safety Week.
How Many Children Suffer Injuries or Die in Car Accidents?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that transportation-related injuries are the leading cause of death for children from unintentional injuries. Children aged 5 to 19 have the highest rates of motor vehicle crash fatalities. The highest rates of motor vehicle crash injuries are in children aged 15 to 19.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motor vehicle crashes are responsible for one-fourth of all unintentional injury deaths in children under the age of 13. The vast majority of these deaths occur when the children are riding in passenger vehicles. Thankfully, the fatality rates for children in car crashes are lower than they were in the 1970s. Many attribute this statistic to the increased use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts by children.
Unfortunately, although child restraint use has increased since the 1970s, many children still do not use restraints when riding in cars. This reality is despite the fact that every state requires the use of child restraints and motor vehicles.
National Public Radio (NPR) revealed that 43 percent of the children who died in car accidents were either not buckled in correctly or not wearing a seat belt at all. NPR urged increased public information tactics, positing that they are effective at increasing child restraint usage.
The NHTSA released some troubling statistics in time for this year's Child Passenger Safety Week events. In 2015, more than 11 percent of children aged four to seven years were not utilizing any type of child restraint device. Over 25 percent moved from booster seats to seat belts too early for their height and weight.
What Are Some Common Ways Parents Misuse Car Seats and Booster Seats?
An incorrectly used car or booster seat will be less effective, completely ineffective, or in some situations potentially harmful to the child. Some types of incorrect use that increase the risk of injury to the child are:
- Sitting an infant in an incorrectly installed rear-facing car seat.
- Sitting a child in a loosely installed front-facing car seat. A car seat is too loose when, by pushing or pulling at the belt path, you can move the car seat more than ones inch either front to back or side to side.
- When the lap belt in a booster seat rides across the child's abdomen or rib cage instead of across the hips or upper thighs.