Car seat safety is emphasized this week
Car crashes are a leading cause of death among children under the age of 13 nationwide. This week is national Child Passenger Safety Week, and the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation are reminding Colorado parents and caregivers to make sure their children are safely secured at all times. This annual campaign aims to raise awareness about child passenger safety laws and the importance of properly using car seats, booster seats and seat belts.
“So far in 2017, 178 children have been injured or killed on Colorado roads,” said CSP Trooper Tim Sutherland, child passenger safety coordinator for Car Seats Colorado. “Our goal is to provide the tools and resources necessary to help educate parents on the laws and safety guidelines protecting their kids — because their lives depend on it.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three out of four children are not properly secured in car seats, putting them at severe risk of injury or death.
During CDOT’s Click It or Ticket May Mobilization enforcement period, which was May 22-June 4, 226 citations were issued for an improperly restrained child — 41 of which involved children under the age of 4. Colorado’s Child Passenger Safety Law is a primary enforcement, meaning a driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child.
Factors contributing to improperly restrained children include an improperly installed car seat, use of a car seat that does not fit the child based on their size and the seat manufacturer’s limits, and not properly securing the harness or seat belt.
Through the Car Seats Colorado program, CSP and CDOT are working toward their mission to provide an environment where every child is properly secured in an approved and appropriate restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle.
CSP and CDOT are offering the following tips for ensuring a child is properly secured:
—Visit a certified car seat safety technician to verify your car seat is installed correctly. A list of inspection stations can be found online at CarSeatsColorado.com.
—Review car seat fit recommendations. Double-check whether a child is in the appropriate seat for their age and/or size based on NHTSA’s safety guidelines.
—Ensure the harness is secure. After you’ve tightened your child into his or her car seat, if you can still pinch slack in the fabric of the harness straps between your fingers, the harness is too loose. Straps should be snug and have no slack.
“Properly securing your child in a car seat, booster or seat belt is the single most important thing you can do to protect them,” said Sam Cole, CDOT communications manager. “Many times, deaths and injuries can be prevented by taking the simple extra step to make sure your child is properly restrained.”
Car Seats Colorado is comprised of CSP, CDOT, local car seat technicians, law enforcement, emergency services and other professionals who are dedicated to implementing child passenger safety programs and encouraging parents to take the necessary steps to protect their children when in vehicles. Learn more about how to keep children safe in vehicles and download informational resources at CarSeatsColorado.com.