M.D.O.T. Brings Awareness to Child Passenger Safety Week

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With motor vehicle crashes being a leading killer of children ages 1 to 13, it is critical that parents use age and size appropriate child restraints to reduce these deaths. Making sure car seats and booster seats are the right size, in addition to wearing seat belts at all times, can ensure safety for young passengers. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (M.D.O.T.) urges parents to be informed of the appropriate car restraints, because no parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to their children’s safety.

One child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash every 34 seconds, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.). With incorrect or nonexistent use of restraints presenting a danger to children’s safety, M.D.O.T. would like to bring attention to the problem during Child Passenger Safety Week (September 14-20, 2014) and National Seat Check Saturday (September 20, 2014).

Nationally, in 2012, over a third of child passengers killed in car crashes weren’t in car seats, booster seats, or wearing seat belts. With proper use of age and size appropriate car restraints, families can travel safer and protect their children.
M.D.O.T. recommends adhering to the following safety tips for child car safety:

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•Register car seats with the manufacturer so that you can be notified in the event of a recall.
•Keep children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats—only when a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat is he/she ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
•After outgrowing car seats, place children in booster seats until they’re big enough to fit seat belts properly without help from a booster seat.
•Insist all kids under 13 ride in the back seat of the car.

When discussing car restraint safety, it’s common to focus on smaller children over older kids. This presents a threat to their well-being, because this safety concern is important to acknowledge when traveling with older kids. From 2008-2012, there were 1,874 child passenger vehicle occupants in the 8-14 age group killed in crashes nationally. A third of these kids (610) were killed while riding in the front seat. It’s important for parents to remember that all children under the age of 13 should always ride in the back seat. The life of a child is not worth the risk, so even “tween” passengers should avoid riding unrestrained or in the front seat.

For more information and resources on child car safety and restraints, please visit www.GoMDOT.com or contact: SurviveYourDrive@mdot.ms.gov.