The Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation are joining forces to mark National Child Passenger Safety Week. The annual campaign, which runs through September 24, raises awareness about how important it is to protect children through the use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts, and by obeying child passenger safety laws.
Children Killed in Traffic Accidents
Nationally, car accidents are a leading cause of death for children under age 13. Three out of four children are not properly secured in car seats, which puts them at severe risk of injuries or death, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In Colorado last year, eight children under age 12 were killed in traffic accidents. Only two of those deaths involved what CDOT calls “confirmed restraint use.” It’s not known if the restraints were installed correctly.
Car Safety Resources
During National Child Passenger Safety Week, CDOT and CSP will be hosting free car seat checkup events. The events will feature trained car seat safety technicians who will provide free car seat and booster seat inspections, fit checks, and safety and law compliance educational materials that have been newly updated. You can find out about events at Car Seat Colorado’s Facebook page.
CDOT Communications Manager Sam Cole said:
Too often, parents or caregivers improperly use or install child safety seats. To help keep children safe, we’re rolling out new resources to help parents and caregivers keep children safe while driving.
You can view and download resources at the new Car Seats Colorado site. It includes materials for parents, caregivers, law enforcement, and child passenger safety technicians. The site makes it easy for parents and caregivers to find recall information, Colorado’s car seat laws, nearby inspection stations, and more.
First Line of Defense
The Pueblo City-County Health Department writes in The Pueblo Chieftain that certified child passenger safety technicians are a powerful tool, but that parents and caregivers are the first line of defense in protecting children in vehicles. CSP Capt. Brian Lyons told The Pueblo Chieftain that it is important to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them into the next type.
Colorado law requires all children to be in a car seat or booster seat until age 8. Experts recommend that until reaching age 2, a child should be kept in a rear-facing car seat, in a five-point harness, until he or she surpasses the upper weight limit for the seat. Experts also recommend that children be kept in booster seats until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
Car Seat Recycling
Car Seats Colorado has a new car seat recycling program, with 20 drop-off locations throughout Colorado. CDOT notes that is is not safe to use any car seat that has been involved in a crash, has been recalled, or that is worn out or out of date. In addition, child passenger safety professionals recommend that if you are planning to sell or give away a car seat or booster seat, you should have it inspected by a professional first.
Tim Sutherland, coordinator of CSP’s Car Seats Colorado program, said parents and caregivers must make sure that car seats and booster seats are free from damage, defects, or recalls:
You wouldn’t wear a bike helmet that has a crack in it, so why would you put your child in a seat that has something wrong with it?
Image by Martin Novak/123RF.