You Can Take Steps to Keep Your Young Passengers Safe During September’s National Safety Week
This year, National Child Passenger Safety Week will take place the week of September 13, ending with “Seat Check Saturday” on September 19. Organizations across the nation will be marking the week with education and awareness campaigns, and it’s likely that you’ll see or hear about child passenger safety from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and other organizations in Illinois. Although you may believe that you’re doing everything right, don’t ignore the message if you drive with young passengers in the car. This month, make sure that you are doing all you can do to improve their safety.
Five Ways to Make Sure Kids Are Safe in Car Seats
If a car seat is the wrong fit or used improperly, it might not protect your child adequately in an accident. It's important to know how to find the right car seat for your situation. Safe Kids Worldwide has a quick guide to a car seat checkup you can do at home. This includes five fairly basic steps:
- Make sure the car seat or booster seat you use is appropriate for your child’s age and size. Check the label on the seat you’re using from time to time to make sure that it’s still the right seat as your child grows.
- Always keep children in car seats in the back seat.
- Use a rear-facing car seat for the first two years or so, and wait as long as possible before switching to a forward-facing seat.
- Make sure you can’t move the car seat more than an inch to either side once it’s strapped in.
- Once all the straps are properly buckled up, try to pinch the belt at your child’s shoulder. You shouldn’t be able to pinch any excess material.
Ultimately, the best way to make sure you’re using your car seat properly is to have a professional take a look. On September 19, take part in Seat Check Saturday by stopping by a child car seat inspection location. Look for an inspection station near you.
Older Children Still Need Special Care in the Car
As children grow out of their car seats and booster seats, they still need to be buckled up properly to stay safe. Here are some tips for making sure older children are protected, too:
- Talk to your kids about the importance of always using a seatbelt in the car, and make sure that they stay buckled up when they ride.
- Even if your child is getting to the age where it’s “uncool” to use a booster seat, remember that it could save his or her life in an accident. If your child’s height and weight make a booster seat necessary, don’t let him or her ride without one.
- Children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat of the car, even after they’re too big for a booster seat. The back seat is much safer for children should an accident occur.
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