On Monday, Safe Kids Worldwide kicked off National Child Passenger Safety Week by debuting their latest study, “Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time.”
The study, which was funded by the General Motors Foundation, found that 25 percent of the parents surveyed had driven without buckling in their kids.
Busy parents had familiar excuses for skipping seatbelts or securing car seats: driving short distances, being rushed, or traveling overnight. But whether you’re headed to the corner store or across the country, making sure your child is securely buckled into their seat should never be optional.
The number of child fatalities from car accidents has fallen over 50 percent since the late ‘80s (a trend that likely started when states began requiring car seats for young kids), but it still remains the number one cause of death for kids ages 1 to 12.
So what can you do to make sure your young passengers are safe? Here are some key ways to protect your precious cargo before hitting the road.
Get child seats checked
Child seat safety inspections are held throughout the year, but many organizations will host additional events this week to help parents ensure their child safety seats are properly installed.
Safe Kids Worldwide is also sponsoring Seat Check Saturday on September 21, with over 500 events nationwide
Know where to go for recalls
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps tabs on all safety issues for child seats. Not only will you be able to get more information on specific product recalls, but you can also see complaints about products, making it a helpful resource if you’re in the market for a new child seat.
Know the rules
In addition to ensuring you’re familiar with the child safety laws in your state, check out the CDC’s recommendations for child passengers. Although booster seats are only required until the age of 7 in many states, the CDC recommends that they be used until the child is at least 9 years old. Of course, you can also check out our expert child safety tips.
Buckle up every time
And now the lecture: No distance is short enough to warrant gambling with your child’s safety or your own. In addition to securing your child passengers during every ride, you too should be fastening your seatbelt. Not only does wearing your seatbelt reduce serious injuries in an accident by 50 percent, but it also makes an impression on young passengers. According to the CDC, kids whose parents passed on seatbelts were about 40 percent less likely to wear one themselves. Kids learn by example, so make sure you’re setting the right one.