Every day in America, millions of parents and caregivers travel with children in their vehicles. While all parents want to keep their children safe, some do not realize that their child’s car seat has been installed incorrectly or is the wrong size.
Only a little over half of car seats are used in a way that is safe, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Sep. 20 - 26, 2020 is Child Passenger Safety Week and the Sacramento County Department of Health Services, Childhood Illness and Injury and Prevention (ChIIP) Program
wants to use this time as an opportunity to remind parents to make sure your car seats are installed properly.
“Car crashes can happen to anybody, even the safest drivers. Every 32 seconds in 2018, a child in the United States under 13 was involved in a passenger vehicle crash,” said Yvonne Rodriguez, Sacramento County Senior Health Program Coordinator. “Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe.”
ChIIP Seeks To:
- Educate parents on the importance of using child safety seats properly by conducting one-hour car seat fitting appointments.
- Demonstrate how to properly install child safety seats.
- Provide two-hour Car Seat Safety Trainings for Childcare providers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, nurses, health care workers, community outreach workers, social workers and home visitors.
“In 2017, there were 312 children under the age of 5 saved because they were using car seats,” Rodriguez said. “Car seats matter, and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical,” Rodriguez added that, too often, parents move their children to the front seat before they should, which increases the risk of injury and death, even if that child is buckled up. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat. NHTSA reported that, in 2015, about 25.8 percent of children four to seven who should have been riding in booster seats were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 11.6 percent were unbuckled altogether.
“As parents and caregivers, we have a long list of things we do for our children to keep them safe. One of the simplest and most important things on the list should be to make sure our kids are in the right car seat for their age and size,” Rodriguez said. “Get your car seats checked. Make sure they’re installed correctly, and that your kids are in the right seats and are buckled in correctly. Even if you think your child’s car seat is installed correctly, get it checked with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, so you can be sure that your child is the safest he or she can be while traveling.”
It is recommended to keep children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one car seat. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness (always use the tether). After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with a harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seat belts safely. Children under 13 should always sit in the back seat.
Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified technician on the NHTSA website
Other car seat resources recommended by Sacramento County include:
Sacramento County is here to help, to register for fitting appointments or provider trainings, call ChIIP at 916-875-5869 or visit the website