Knowledge saves lives, especially the youngest

Koon’s Watch

They’re our most precious cargo—are we securing them safely?

Child Passenger Safety Week is later this month. It’s a time for law enforcement agencies across the nation and U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to share important information regarding the appropriate car seat for our children. Ensuring the youngest members of our community are secured properly and safely can save lives.

In 2019, 38 percent of children who died while riding in passenger vehicles were unrestrained, compared to 33 percent in 2018 (NHTSA). Sadly, two children under 13 were killed every day in 2019 while riding in vehicles. No parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to a child’s safety. Parents: Don’t think you know, know you know that your kids are secured correctly in their car seats. No vehicle is safer than another when it comes to child passenger safety. In fact, in 2019, 47 percent of unrestrained children killed in vehicle crashes were riding in vans, followed closely by SUVs (42 percent), and light trucks (42 percent).

Know the right fit:
• An infant under 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat in a rear seat of the vehicle until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer.
• A child at least age 2 or under 2 who has outgrown the manufacturer’s height or weight limits for a rear-facing car seat must be secured in a forward-facing car seat in the rear seat of a vehicle.
• Children at least age 4 who have outgrown their forward-facing car seat must be secured by a booster seat in a rear seat of the vehicle until the child can meet the height and fit requirements for an adult safety belt. Lap and shoulder belts must be used.
• A child at least age 8 or at least 57 inches tall may be restrained by an adult safety belt if the child can be secured properly by an adult safety belt (properly fitting over lap and shoulders).