Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

September 15, 2013

Help protect your child; take part in safety seat check

The Family Junction is pleased to join with the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) program to celebrate National Child Passenger Safety Week in Allegany County from Sept.15-21

A free public child safety seat check will be held on Sept. 19 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Country Club Mall overflow parking lot by JCPenney’s.

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children ages 1-13 years of age in the United States.

In fact, data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that an average of two children are killed and 325 more injured in vehicle crashes each day.

Yet child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers, ages 1-4 years. (www.seatcheck.org)

Despite safety advances, many caregivers don’t use or even know the guidelines for the proper use of car safety restraints. In fact, NHTSA research shows that seven out of ten children are improperly restrained when riding in a motor vehicle!

Maryland’s law (effective October 2012) requires that every child under 8 years old must ride in an appropriate child restraint unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches or taller. It also requires that every child from 8 to 16 years old, who is not secured in a child restraint, must be secured in a vehicle seat belt.

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its child passenger safety guidelines to also recommend:

Rear-facing car seats for kids until at least age 2, or when the child exceeds the maximum height and weight recommended by the car seat manufacturer

Forward-facing car seats with a five-point harness for kids over 2, until the child reaches the seat’s maximum weight and height

Booster seats until an adult seat belt fits properly, typically when the child reaches 57 inches in height (4 feet, 9 inches), between 8 and 12 years of age

Back seat riding with seat belt until age 13

At the public seat check on Sept. 19 child passenger safety technicians will show how to correct common mistakes made when installing car seats while checking for safety recalls or outdated models of seats.

For those parents without appropriate car seats, The Family Junction will offer new seats at reduced prices during this event.

Parents should arrive at the check with seats pre-installed to the best of their ability and with the owner’s manuals for their vehicle and car seat.

Parents are also encouraged to bring their children so technicians can assess best seat fit.

For more information about car seat safety or this event, please call The Family Junction at 301-777-2858. Join us in protecting our most valuable resource — our children.

Melanie McDonald, executive director

The Family Junction Inc.

Cumberland

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