Buckle Your Kids Up! New Laws Are Actually Working.
It’s no surprise that buckling up is important. In years past many states have implemented seat belt laws that have actually proven a reduction in injuries. In Ohio a child 3 years and younger or less than 40 pounds must be in a child restraint; ages 4 through 7 years who weigh 40 pounds or more and who are shorter than 57 inches must be in booster seat. For each offense you are a required to pay a $75 ticket. It really bothers me when I am traveling down the road and I come across a young child sitting in mom or dads lap in the front seat of the car completely unrestrained. I urge you to buckle your children up and follow the laws. It could save your child’s life.
Check out this article from Consumer Reports.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in young children, but many of these fatalities can be prevented. Research has shown that the use of child safety seats can help reduce injuries and deaths in a crash, and new findings support the use of mandated boosters.
A new study by the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics is the first to look at injury rates before and after a state law on booster seats went into effect. The study looked at the New York State booster seat law that was implemented in March 2005, and it found that injuries in children ages 4 to 6 years old dropped 18 percent. This improvement is largely attributed to the increase in use of boosters after the child restraint law was upgraded, from 29 percent to 50 percent for those children that were involved in accidents.
Additional research also supports the benefits of boosters. A study by the Journal of Pediatrics from 2009 found that children aged 4 through 8 years old who used booster seats were 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries than children who were just using the vehicle’s seat belt.
However, not all states have the same child seat laws and some are stricter than others. All states require a child restraint for children through age 3 with the majority of states requiring a restraint for children up until at least 7 years old. (See the child restraint laws in your state). Whether or not your state has a law, Consumer Report’s recommendation, as well as recommendations from other safety organizations and the government, is to keep children in an appropriate child restraint until they are able to fit the vehicles belts both comfortably and safely, usually when they are around 4ft. 9 inches tall. Also, all children under age 13 should ride in the rear seat.
But, don’t be in a rush to move your child up to the next level of seat. A move up (from rear-facing to forward-facing; a harness to seat-belt booster) generally means a step back in the overall level of safety for your child. Keep your kids in a forward facing harnessed seat as long as the weight limits of that seat allows before moving them to a booster.
It’s also important to make sure all child restraints are properly installed. To ensure proper installation and fit to your child have your car seat inspected by certified technicians. To find an inspection station near you go to:http:// www.seatcheck.org or http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm. The National Seat Check day is Saturday, September 25th where inspection events will be set up around the country. This is a good opportunity to have your seat checked and make sure it is properly installed. Often local fire departments also have trained personnel that can assist.