CAMP HILL, Pa., Sept. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With more than 2,600 U.S. children under 13 involved in a car crash each day, or one child every 33 seconds, parents need to be extra vigilant about keeping kids safe in cars. Every day in Pennsylvania, too many children ride in car seats that have been installed incorrectly or are using the wrong car seats for their age and size, while other children ride completely unbuckled. Safe Kids Pennsylvania and its partners are encouraging families to attend free car seat checkups throughout Pennsylvania during National Child Passenger Safety Week from Sept. 18 to 24.
This year's theme, "Back to 2" highlights the importance of keeping all infants and toddlers in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer.
"Children younger than age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing," said Allyson Fulton of Safe Kids Pennsylvania. Using car seats that are age and size appropriate is the best way to keep children safe."
On an average day in Pennsylvania, there are about 348 reportable crashes on state highways. Research found that using the correct car seat reduces the chance of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. In Pennsylvania from 2010 to 2014, 82 percent of the children under age 4 who were involved in crashes and restrained in a car seat sustained no injury.
Children who are correctly buckled in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt benefit from the single most effective way to protect motor vehicle occupants and reduce fatalities in a crash. If everyone wore seat belts when riding in a vehicle, hundreds of lives in Pennsylvania alone would be saved. Research shows that children are likely to be buckled 93 percent of the time when adults are buckled and only 72 percent of the time when adults are not buckled.
"Make certain that everyone in the car is buckled, that your car seat is installed correctly, that every child is in the right car seat, and that the car seat is used correctly, Fulton said. Even if you think your child is safe, check again, so you can be sure that your child is safe while traveling."
While most families put kids in car seats, the latest research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 59 percent of car seats are not installed correctly. In Pennsylvania, there are more than 1000 certified child passenger safety technicians that offer free car seat checkups. To find a location in your community, visit www.PaSafeKids.org
Safe Kids Worldwide has also launched a new resource, the Ultimate Car Seat Guide, to provide parents easy-to-access expert advice to protect their children in cars. The guide, developed with support from General Motors, gives expert guidance to parents, particularly new parents, on the important decisions they face when choosing and using a car seat. It offers parent-friendly tips on how to fit a child into a car seat and how to know when it is time to move to a new type of seat. Visit www.UltimateCarSeatGuide.org.
"We are constantly asked by parents what kind of car seat to buy, how to install it properly, and when a child should move into a booster seat," said Fulton. "If parents can't make it to a car seat checkup event in their community, the Ultimate Car Seat Guide can give them helpful tips to protect kids on the move."
Under Pennsylvania's child passenger safety law, all drivers are responsible for securing children in the appropriate child restraint system. All children from birth up to age 4 must be secured in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle. A child younger than two years of age must be secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system, to be used until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer. All children age 4 up to age 8 must be secured in a seat belt system and appropriate child booster seat anywhere in the vehicle.
All children age 8 up to age 18 must be secured in a seat belt system anywhere in the vehicle. Under Pennsylvania's seat belt law, all drivers are responsible for the front seat occupants to wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt. All drivers under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle in which the number of passengers exceeds the number of available seat belts in the vehicle.
For more information on how to keep child passengers safe and car seat checkup events in your area, visit www.PaSafeKids.org.
Safe Kids Pennsylvania works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Pennsylvania is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide. Safe Kids Pennsylvania was founded in 1991 and is managed by the Center for Schools and Communities.
Media contact: Aylissa Kiely for Safe Kids Pennsylvania 717-903-0219
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SOURCE Safe Kids Pennsylvania