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Child Passenger Safety Week has one goal

Child Passenger Safety Week has one goal

Let's protect our most vulnerable passengers

Year in and year out, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dedicates itself to ensuring the safety of the American public on our nation’s highways. Nowhere is that commitment stronger than in our high-priority efforts to ensure the safety of children.

And Child Passenger Safety Week is an opportunity to recognize –and advance – that effort.

Is your child in the right car seat graphic
At NHTSA, our safety focus continues through the many stages of a child’s life: from infant and toddler, to the pre-teen, to the teenager just learning to drive. We want them all to be safe and secure in the family car, aware of vehicle traffic when they cross the street, and protected by the yellow school bus to and from school. And when they’re old enough to drive, we want them to be alert and focused on driving, not texting or talking on a cell phone.

During Child Passenger Safety Week, we highlight the important safety benefits associated with the proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.

Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. Regardless of the size of the vehicle, the age of the child, or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt.

Car seats, when correctly installed and used, provide proven life-saving and injury-reducing benefits for child passengers. In fact, properly used car seats decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. Children are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a booster seat than if they were using seat belts only.

From 1975 through 2011, we estimate that approximately 10,000 lives were saved by car seats for children under the age of 5 in passenger vehicles, with more than 260 lives saved in 2011 alone.

So, it’s very troubling to us that more than a third of children under age 13 who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2011 were not in car seats or wearing seat belts.

To be sure that your child is riding as safely as possible in the car, please check out National Seat Check Saturday, September 21, where parents, guardians, and other caregivers can have their child’s car seat inspected and properly installed by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians.

Those who attend will also learn how to properly install the car seat themselves, and how to use the car seat the right way to keep their children safe. Technicians can help parents and caregivers determine if children are ready to move up from car seats to booster seats, and from booster seats to seat belts. They can also help make sure your car seat is registered so you’ll be notified in case that seat is recalled.

If you can’t make it to a Seat Check Saturday event, you can still have your car seat examined by a certified technician on a different date. The service that the technicians offer is available year-round, by appointment, and is usually free of charge. To locate a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area, go to http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting, or download the free SaferCar app from the iTunes App Store.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers can also visit safercar.gov/therightseat to learn tips on car seat safety, how-to videos, recommendations, and car seat recalls provided by NHTSA.

David Strickland is Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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I'd like to know where people can take used (but still fully functional carseats) -no thrift stores will take them for fear of lawsuits. It seems tragic that we have no way to give these to families in need.

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