It’s Child Passenger Safety Week and the Johnston Police Department and Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department remind motorists with children to ensure their child is in the right seat. It is important that parents and caregivers correctly choose, install, and use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children. On average, two children under age 13 were killed and an estimated 374 were injured every day in 2019 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and vans. Of the children who died in 2019, 38 percent were unrestrained.
Recommendations for child passengers
As parents and childcare givers, we must reduce the risk of death and injury by properly securing children. The NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by the particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, they are 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 properly fit in a seat belt.
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. Click here to learn more about the seat recommendations from NHTSA.
When moving your child to a forward-facing seat, it is important to ensure you use a tether.
- A tether connects the top of the forward-facing seat to the vehicle.
- It prevents serious head and neck injuries by securing the top of the car seat, which minimizes forward head movement if a crash were to occur.
- In order to provide proper protection, the tether must be tightened and attached properly. See the tether installation instructions in your car seat manual.
If you need assistance installing a car seat or want to make sure your car seats are properly installed, the Johnston Police Department can assist. You can schedule an appointment for installation between 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please call (515) 278-2345 to set up an appointment.
Additional resources include:
• Car Seat Types: Determine whether your child fits best in a rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
• Car Seat Recommendations: Review NHTSA’s recommendations for the best car seat for your child’s age and size.
• Find and Compare: Find and compare car seats with NHTSA’s handy car seat finder, which also searches specific brands.
For more information on child car seat safety, as well as how to find other virtual car seat check events, go to www.nhtsa.gov/therightseat.