NEW PHILADELPHIA -- National Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 13-19.
This year the emphasis is on making sure all children are riding in the correct safety restraint. Tuscarawas County Health Department has four certified car seat technicians on staff ready to answer car seat questions and help with installation issues.
Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for children.
Every 34 seconds a child under age 13 is involved in a crash. From 2009 to 2013 3,335 children under age 13 were killed and estimated 611,000 children were injured in car crashes. In that same period of time, 1,552 tweens (children ages 8-14) were killed in cars, vans and SUVs. Safe Kids Tuscarawas County, National Highway Safety Administration, and many other safety organizations recommend children under age 13 ride properly restrained in the back seat.
Allowing children to ride unrestrained remains a problem as evidenced by 38 percent of the children killed in 2013 were riding unrestrained -- no car seat, booster seat or seat belt in use at the time of the crash. Child Safety Seats reduce the risk of fatal injuries in cars by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers.
All 50 states have child passenger safety laws. In Ohio children from birth to age 8 must ride in a properly used appropriate car seat or booster seat unless the child is 4'9" or taller.
Child Safety Seat recommendations are as follows:
/ Rear-facing from birth until they outgrow their rear-facing convertible car seat - minimum age 2 or longer if possible.
/ Forward-facing harness seat from the time they outgrow the rear-facing seat until they are at the highest weight/height guidelines for their car seat. Strongly suggested at least age 4 or longer if possible.
/ Booster seat from the time they outgrow their harnessed seat until minimum age 8, but recommended longer if they cannot pass the seat belt fit test.
The seat belt fit test is the best measure for determining when your child is actually ready to ride in just a seatbelt. Remember Ohio Law specifies minimum age 8 to be in just a seat belt. The Seat Belt Fit Test is as follows:
/ Child can sit with his back flush to the vehicle seatback
/ Child can bend her knees over the front of the seat without slouching
/ The child's feet rest flat on the floor
/ The shoulder belt of the seatbelt lays flat on the center of the child's shoulder
/ The lap belt rests low on the hips or upper thighs
If the child cannot stay properly seated as outlined above, he should continue to ride in his booster seat. Remember every step in child passenger safety is a bit less secure for your child, so keep them rear-facing as long as possible, in a harnessed seat as long as possible and in their booster until they pass the seatbelt fit test.
In celebration of Child Passenger Safety Week, the Tuscarawas County Health Department will have a certified car seat instructor in the lobby from 9 to 11 a.m. Sept. 16 to answer any car seat questions and to book appointments to have your car seat checked by certified technicians.
For more information call The Tuscarawas County Health Department at 330-343-5555.