According to Shelly Zapp, Director for “Texans In Motion”, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children of all ages in Texas. The reason? Too often children involved in motor vehicle crashes are injured or killed because they are not secured properly in a child safety seat or a booster seat. Also, many children are seen riding in vehicles using only a seat belt when they should be in a child safety restraint.
That’s why Texans In Motion, the Department of Transportation, and Blanco Elementary School are teaming up on Saturday, February 11, 2008 to provide free safety seat inspections from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the Blanco Elementary School parking lot at 814 11th Street, Blanco, TX.
In 2004, 289 Texas children under the age of 15 died in motor vehicle crashes. Research of child safety seat effectiveness shows that with proper use, fatal injuries can be reduced by 71% for infants under 1 year of age and by 54% for toddlers 1-4 years old.
Texans In Motion conducted a child occupant restraint sue survey in September 2007 and forund that wile most of the adults were wearing their safety belts 58 children left the school parking lot either incorrectly restrained or not restrained at all. Only 18 children were restrained correctly.
“One size seat does not fit all children. As children grow, how they need to be secured in a car, truck, van or SUV changes,” Shelly Zapp said. “Moreover, child safety seats and vehicles are not always compatible. Certified technicians can help you understand and how to best install the seat you have in your vehicle. For many parents, it is a challenge to secure the seat so it does not move more than an inch, that it is properly reclined and that the harness straps are placed correctly.”
“And, if you’re an expectant mother, it’s important to always wear your seat belt, not only to protect you, but your unborn child as well. Wear the lap belt across your hips and below your stomach with the shoulder belt across your chest . Once your child is born, be a role model and continue to buckle up every trip, every time.”
For maximum child passenger safety, everyone needs to remember and follow the 4 Steps for Kids:
1) Best possible protection: keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, for as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds;
2) When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (approx. age 4 and 40 pounds);
3) Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat (approx. age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in a booster seat, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (approx. age 8 or when they are 4’9" tall);
4) When children outgrow their booster seats, (approx. age 8 or when they are 4’9" tall) they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly with the lap belt across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt across the chest, not on the neck or face area. Never put the shoulder belt under a child’s arm or behind their back as severe injuries or death can result during a crash.
“This year, we are working hard to remind all parents, grandparents and child care providers that if their children are under 4’9", they need to be in a booster seat,” said Zapp. “There is no better way to show your children you love them than to make sure they are secured properly. Make it the law in your car - it may save your child’s life.”