With the past two blogs, we began investigating concepts that could lead to lower car accident costs for Colorado Springs and the entire country. Many safety associations believe cell phone use and defective vehicles are two examples of recently identified sources for car accidents that have garnered a disproportionate amount of attention. The truth is that the majority of car accidents and the resulting injuries come from other causes.
This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week, and the use of child safety seats is a traffic safety issue that needs to get more attention, say the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Let’s hope that child safety seat education can save more young lives beginning this very week. The nationwide campaign is a great time to remind Coloradans of the State’s updated safety seat law that went into effect August 1.
Even a quick look at the grim stats from the CDC and elsewhere shows the urgent need for more focus on child passenger safety issues. Automobile accidents are the #1 killer of kids, age 3 to 14.
CDC child injury statistics for 2008 show that four children, 14 years old or younger, were killed each day in motor vehicle crashes. The horrific numbers show that 1,460 children lost their lives that year and many more were injured!
In the event of an accident, the most effective way to prevent severe injuries to your child is to make certain he or she rides securely in a safety seat. Laws in all 50 states require child passengers ride in safety seats. But remember, real safety goes beyond using a seat! A child’s requirements for a safety seat will change as he or she grows:
- Infants up to 20 lbs. must ride in a rear-facing safety seat in the back seat.
- Toddlers up to 40 lbs. should also ride in the rear seat, in a forward-facing safety seat.
- Children up to 4’9” tall must ride in a booster seat in the car’s back seat.
- Children 5’0” and taller may be able to ride securely when wearing the car’s adult seat belt.
- All children age 13 and younger are required to ride in the vehicle’s rear seat.
Your child’s safety seat needs will vary based on height and weight, but the bullet points above are a great measuring stick for estimates. Remember, too, the safety seat must be anchored properly for your child to get its full benefits in case of a car wreck. Make sure your kids are properly fitted to riding in any vehicle you may travel in by visiting one of the Colorado Springs-area seat check up stations. Most of the locations are by appointment only, so call first to make sure a certified safety seat technician will be on duty when you arrive.
Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for safety seat inspection stations in La Junta, Lamar, Rocky Ford, Pueblo, Alamosa and all around the State of Colorado. Safe Kids USA also has ongoing seat check location listings and safety information for kids of all ages. To refresh your memory about Colorado’s newly revised safety seat law, visit Colorado Child Passenger Safety.