State Officials Ask Parents To Check Kids’ Car Seats During “Child Passenger Safety Week”

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TRENTON – Motor vehicle crashes are among the leading causes of death for children under the age of 13 and every year thousands of children are tragically injured or killed in car crashes. To help ensure all children are kept safe in motor vehicles, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is participating in “Child Passenger Safety Week” (Sept. 15-21) and sponsoring events to teach parents and caregivers how to secure their kids in the car.

Sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, certified child passenger safety technicians are available at local sites across New Jersey to provide car seat inspections to parents and caregivers during Child Passenger Safety Week each year. Hands-on advice and instruction are also given on how to choose the right car seat and use it correctly.

“This week, it is vital for everyone that drives a child in a motor vehicle to take the time to understand what it really means to have that child properly restrained in their seat,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “I am urging everybody to review the instructions for their car seats or booster seats. If you are unsure or have any questions, go to one of our events and learn from a certified child passenger safety technician. There can be no shortcuts taken with this precious cargo.”

Poedubicky said that according to federal estimates, 75 percent of children are not properly restrained in a motor vehicle. Risks grow as those children get older: approximately two-thirds killed in car crashes from 2007-2011 were between ages 4-12.

You can find more information about Child Passenger Safety Week and an event near you by visiting the Division’s web site at: http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/CPS-week_overview.html.

New Jersey law requires children under eight years of age who weigh less than 80 pounds to ride properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat in the rear seat of the vehicle. If there is no rear seat, the child may sit in the front seat, but he or she must be secured by a child safety seat or booster seat. A rear-facing infant seat should never be placed in a front seat with a passenger-side airbag unless that airbag is switched off.

“Many parents and caregivers move their children out of the best restraint type too soon. That is why hands-on inspections and instruction are so important. Parents and caregivers need to make certain they and their kids are buckled up properly on every trip, every time,” Poedubicky said.

“Proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts will help decrease the number of deaths and injuries occurring on New Jersey’s roadways because car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers in cars, and 58 percent and 59 percent for infants and toddlers in SUVs, pickups and vans,” Poedubicky said.

The Division is offering the following tips for how parents and guardians can secure their child safely in a motor vehicle:

  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
  • Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
  • To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
  • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

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