September is a time for a lot of things – though some went back in August, it marks the month for back to school for many of us. It is also that one month that gives us the transition from Summer to Fall – depending on where you live, the weather isn’t quite hot, but it also isn’t too cool yet either. But September is also a very important month for another reason – Child Passenger Safety Week. And while we should all ALWAYS be conscientious about child and other passenger safety; this week signifies a time that we can spread the message to everyone in mass!
This year, Child Passenger Safety Week will run from September 17-23. With more than 1000 events are expected in 45 states across the country to raise awareness for proper car seat installation and usage, this is a great time to brush up on car seat safety tips and make sure your child is in the right seat, with the right fit and installation.
For most of us, grabbing our gear and running out the door and hoping in the car is an everyday occurrence. Maybe you are headed to work, a play date, or on vacation – but we spend a lot of times in our cars. When we have little ones, we put them in their car seat and buckle them up without a second thought to whether or not they are in the right seat. We trust that they are safe – and we go on our way.
Did you know that every 33 seconds a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States?
Car seats, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury. But over half of car seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness and 1 in 3 children killed in car crashes are completely unrestrained at the time of the crash.
Can you imagine? Thinking that your child is in the right car seat, only to find out that they aren’t!
I remember the very first time I had to use a car seat. Not much has changed since then. Except NOW there are car seat checks. When we first came home from the hospital (with any one of the 4 children) the nurse looked in the car for a car seat but knew little more than I did about installing it. Actually since I worked at a baby store much like Babies R Us I probably knew more than she did. Now car seats have lots more features and comfort but making sure that it is installed correctly AND that the child that is traveling in it is secured correctly will always be a concern of mine. While my daughters have outgrown the car seat stage, my godson has not and frequently travels with us in our car. That makes car seat installation even more frightening, because we take the seat in and out so that he can ride with us so I have to learn how to do these things all over again. Having resources like NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat, which has videos about how to install car seats and booster seats correctly and guides to picking the right seat by age and size can be a big help. I just check things out there as I install, remembering all his mother taught me too and then we are good to go. While I can’t have a car seat check every time I install, parents, grandparents and caregivers can take advantage of “Seat Check Saturday,” where Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will help parents and caregivers make sure their car seats are installed correctly. In most cases, this service is FREE.
Here’s a video that has been helpful for me:
To make sure you have the right seat for your child, visit NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat, or find a Child Passenger Safety Week event in your area. During Child Passenger Safety Week, many communities will have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on-hand to provide education on how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for children. To find events near you, including free car seat checks, visit bit.ly/CPSTech.
*According to 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).