NHTSA car seat safety

Child Passenger Safety Week: Check Your Car Seats!

Did you know that every 33 seconds a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States? That probably isn’t the first thing you think about when you are hauling your kids to school, the grocery store, or anywhere else around town. And really, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not your child is safely snuggled into the right car seat every time you get in the car. Instead, make sure your child is in the right seat from the get-go.

I’ll admit that when my oldest two were young, I still didn’t know what I was doing. I look back on photos and see loose and twisted straps, babies turned too early, or seats that were installed incorrectly. It’s embarrassing but more importantly, it’s terrifying to think about what bad things could have happened.

Child Passenger Safety Week (September 17-23, 2017) is a great time to brush up on car seat safety tips and make sure your child is in the right seat, with the right fit and installation.  

During Child Passenger Safety Week, more than 1000 events are expected in 45 states across the country to raise awareness for proper car seat installation and usage. The week culminates in “Seat Check Saturday,” where Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will help parents and caregivers make sure their car seats are installed correctly. In most cases, this service is FREE.

It’s good to have another set of eyes on your seat, especially certified eyes! One day, I received a message about how loose the straps were on our car seat. At first, I was honestly angry. I don’t even know why people, including myself, take it personally when people are just trying to warn us that our kids aren’t safe. When I took the time to get over myself, I realized just how many ways I needed to improve our car seat safety. Now I read the car seat manual before I install every car seat. I cross-reference sites like like NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat, which has videos about how to install car seats and booster seats correctly and guides to picking the right seat by age and size. It’s a few extra minutes that will be worth a lifetime in the long-run.

Here’s a video that has been helpful for me:

The right car seat can make all the difference in a crash. Car seats, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the risk of death or injury. But over half of car seats are either installed or used incorrectly, and 1 in 3 children killed in car crashes in 2015 was not in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt at the time of the crash.

To make sure you have the right seat for your child, visit NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat, or find a Child Passenger Safety Week event in your area. During Child Passenger Safety Week, many communities will have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on-hand to provide education on how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for children. To find events near you, including free car seat checks, visit bit.ly/CPSTech.

*According to 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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