With this week being national Child Passenger Safety Week, Maryland State Police are reminding the public the importance of ensuring that motorists are utilizing the correct car seat and that it is being properly installed and utilized.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 723 children ages 12 and younger died and another 128,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2016. Of those, 35 percent were not buckled up, making at least some of those deaths preventable.
Proper use of car seats and booster seats, when utilized correctly greatly reduce the chances children have of getting injured or killed in a vehicle crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
- Keeping children in rear-facing seats as long as possible, at least until age 2. This is the safest way for your little ones to travel.
- Switching to forward-facing only when the child exceeds the rear-facing weight limit. It’s okay if their feet touch the back seat. They’ll still be safe and comfortable.
- Changing to a belt-positioning booster seat only after they outgrow their car seat. Again, always consult the manufacturer instructions for weight limits.
Maryland’s current law requires that children under 8 must ride in an appropriate child restraint, unless that child is 4-foot-9 or taller. Also, every child from 8 to 16 who is not secured in a child restraint must be secured by the vehicle’s seat belt. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure all children are correctly buckled. Violators of this law are subject to an $83 fine.
For more information and resources on child safety seats, contact Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) at 800-370-SEAT. For more KISS resources, including free safety inspections, visit their website.