Since becoming a mom one of my top priorities has been to keep my child safe and protected. Especially when driving in a busy and congested city like Miami. For moms like me who live in South Florida, you know how nerve-wracking it can be to drive on the highway or streets when you have little ones onboard. There is so much that can happen while driving so in order to prevent any accidents it is important that parents are prepared and aware of their surroundings. And especially that their child is safely strapped in their appropriate car seat at all times.
According to the CPS Board (Child Passenger Safety Board), it is said that car crashes are a leading cause of death for children and that on average two children under 13 were killed and an estimated 374 were injured every day in 2019 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans. It is also said that many times injuries and deaths can be prevented through proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.
Parents have a chance to learn more about what safety protocols to follow and be aware of during Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week from September 18th through the 24th. This awareness week was created as a part of Baby Safety Month in the United States for the purpose of making sure that children’s car seats are properly installed, used, and that they are registered with their manufacturers.
Here are some basic child passenger safety tips for parents that are recommended by the CDC:
1.) Children from birth up to the ages of 2-4 should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat with a harness in the back seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of their car seat. This ensures that they have maximum protection, especially in areas like the head, neck, and spine in the event of a crash.
2.) Children who outgrow the rear-facing car seat should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat with a harness in the back seat of the car until at least age 5. It is recommended that they stay in the forward-facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of this seat.
3.) After children outgrow the forward-facing car seat they should be buckled in a belt-positioning booster seat with a seat belt in the back seat of the car until the seat belt fits properly without a booster seat. A seat belt fits properly when the lap belt is across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt is across the center of the shoulder and chest (not on the neck/face or off the shoulder). This usually occurs once children are ages 9–12.
4.) It is important to ensure that the harness is correctly tightened. Make sure to remove coats/jackets before placing children in car seats. Keep older children in high-backed booster seats for as long as they need them.
5.) Make sure to check the car seat manual and labels on the car seat for weight and height limits. Also, ensure the seat is registered with the manufacturer and that there are no recalls.
The last day of Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week (September 24th) is also National Seat Check Saturday which is observed as a day where technicians nationwide educate parents on how to correctly select and install child passenger safety seats. Many hospitals nationwide also promote this day to new and expecting mothers who are not too familiar with how to transport their babies safely once they are discharged or before the arrival of their baby.
It is highly encouraged that parents attend at least one National Seat Check Saturday event. It’s free and a great way to get educated by a certified technician on their child’s safety and ensure they have maximum protection.
To learn more about how to keep your child safe and for helpful resources, you can visit these websites: