‘Find the Right Seat’
Millions of people travel with children in their vehicles every day. While the majority of those children are buckled up properly in car seats that are right for their ages and sizes, nearly half are not – and some are not buckled up at all. The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is hosting Child Passenger Safety Week, September 15-21, to remind parents and caregivers to make sure children ride as safely as possible, every trip, every time.
“Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children in the United States,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe.”
During the campaign, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will attend community events to provide free education on how to use car seats, booster seats and seat belts. The technicians will educate consumers about choosing the right car seat for a child, installing that seat correctly in a vehicle and using the seat every time. A link to the schedule of Car Seat Inspection events, as well as other information about child passenger safety, is available at the Kids in Safety Seats website, mdkiss.org.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars. NHTSA also recommends keeping children rear-facing when driving, until the child is at the top height or weight allowed by the car seat.
When children outgrow the rear-facing “infant” car seat, they should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one seat. Once they exceed the rear-facing size limits, children are ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with a harness, children can be placed in booster seats until they are the right size to use seat belts safely.
“Installing the correct car seat and using it the right way are critical,” said Fran Phillips, Deputy Secretary of Public Health at the Maryland Department of Health. “Even if you think your child’s car seat is installed correctly, please get it checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to be sure your child is the safest they can be while traveling.”
Parents and caregivers also are reminded to register their car seat and booster seat with the manufacturer to be notified of any recalls.