MonroeCounty.gov; Adam Bello, County Executive

Monroe County Offers Free Child Car Seat Safety Checks

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced the county’s National Seat Check Saturday will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, September 25 at Delta Sonic, 841 Empire Blvd., Webster.

“Our children are some of the most vulnerable passengers in a motor vehicle and it’s important that everyone knows how to install and use child car seats correctly,” said County Executive Bello. “I urge all parents and caregivers to take the time to ensure their children are as safe as possible on the road. No parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to a child’s safety.”

The Monroe County Office of Traffic Safety free event will feature certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. In addition to providing instruction on how to install and use car seats, technicians will help attendees determine if their child is in the right seat for their age and size, as well as review the importance of registering seats with their manufacturer to speed notifications should there be a recall.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, and the latest research from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that nearly half (46%) of car seats are misused. Using age- and size-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce these deaths.

From 2015 to 2019, there were 1,709 “tweens” (8 to 14 years old) killed in passenger vehicles, and in 2019 alone, the 8-12-year-old age group had the highest number of fatalities (229) among children in passenger vehicles. It is critical that parents and caregivers ensure that, if a child is too large or old for a car seat, they are first put into a booster seat until a seat belt can fit correctly.

Car Seats versus Booster Seats

There is also a deadly misconception that a certain type of vehicle may offer greater protection for your child. In 2019, 47% of unrestrained children killed in vehicle crashes were riding in vans, followed closely by SUVs (42%), and light trucks (42%). Children are safest when correctly secured in the right car seats or booster seats for their ages and sizes — no matter the vehicle type. No matter how safe you think your vehicle may be, it is never safe, nor legal, to let your child ride unbuckled.

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by their particular seats. It’s the best way to keep them safe. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be placed in a booster seat until tall enough to fit in a seat belt properly.

Booster seats are an essential step between car seats and seat belts. These transitional seats position the seat belt so that it fits properly over the stronger parts of your child’s body. Don’t feel pressured to put your child in a seat belt too soon. If your child is ready to use a seat belt, ensure the seat belt fits correctly. Bottom line: The safest place for all kids under 13 is buckled up in the back seat.

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