It’s very important to know if a child is sitting properly in a car safety seat – and very important that the seat is properly installed in the vehicle. In 2014, 602 children ages 12 and younger died in the U.S., and more than 121,350 were injured, due to lack of a child safety seat or an improperly fitted child safety seat.
The Benton Police Department wants all children to be safe in vehicles. They actually have officers who are certified car seat technicians and they hold events occasionally to show how to make sure adults know the proper procedure.
There’s a “Car Seat Clinic” coming up on Saturday, March 11th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the Benton Police Department, at 114 South East St. in Benton. Certified car seat technicians will help with correct car seat installation, correct use of restraints and safety clips, and adequacy of the seat currently in use.
“We are not issuing citations if a child is not properly in a car seat. Rather, we are hosting this event to ensure children are as safe as possible while riding in a vehicle,” said Benton Police Sgt. Quinton Jackson.
In Arkansas, children are required to ride in an appropriate child safety restraint until they are at least 6 years of age or 60 lbs. However, the safest practice is for children to remain in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 8 years of age or 4’9” tall. Seat belts are designed to fit an average-sized adult, and booster seats help adapt seat belts to fit children’s smaller frames.
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, from 2000-2007, 45 children ages 6-8 died in Arkansas as a result of motor vehicle crashes. And for every death there are an additional 19 hospitalizations and 300 injuries requiring medical attention (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Based on those numbers, from 2000-2007, an estimated 855 Arkansas children ages 6-8 were hospitalized and another 13,500 had injuries requiring medical attention (Arkansas Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center).
Although vehicle crashes are not always preventable, the decision to use the correct safety seat can save a child’s life and lessen injuries. The certified car seat technicians at the Car Seat Clinic can answer questions and address concerns to ensure children are safely secured when traveling in a vehicle.
For more information on correct usage of car seats, safety recalls, and other related articles, visit the Safe Kids USA website at www.safekids.org.