South County Fire and Safe Kids Snohomish County encourage parents and caregivers to check their child’s car seat or booster to make sure their little one is riding safely during Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19-25.
The week is dedicated to educating parents and caregivers about the importance of correctly choosing, installing and using car seats, booster seats and seat belts.
Nearly half of car seats are used incorrectly, according to the latest research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even a simple error could lead to life-altering injuries or even death.
“We know parents and caregivers have a lot on their plates these days, so we hope you can take a moment this week to doublecheck your child’s car seat or booster. Is it the correct seat for your child’s age and size? Is it installed correctly?” said Shawneri Guzman, South County Fire outreach manager and a nationally certified child passenger safety instructor.
To celebrate Child Passenger Safety Week, South County Fire is offering a free child car seat class on Saturday, Sept. 25, 10-11 a.m. via Zoom. Participants will learn how to keep a child safe from birth to the adult seatbelt. Register for this class and learn more other child car seat safety programs available through South County Fire at www.southsnofire.org/carseats.
Keeping kids safe at every age and stage:
- State law requires children to ride rear-facing until age 2. NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend rear-facing even longer, up to the top height and weight allowed by the car seat.
- Once a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, they are ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.
- After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be placed in a booster seat until tall enough to fit in a seat belt properly.
- Staying in each stage for as long as possible is the safest way a child can ride. Check your car seat owner’s manual to learn more about your car seat’s height and weight limits.
- Booster seats are an essential step between car seats and seat belts. Booster seats position the seat belt so that it fits properly over the stronger parts of your child’s body.
- Don’t feel pressured to put your child in a seat belt too soon. If your child is ready to use a seat belt, ensure the seat belt fits correctly, which typically occurs between 8-12 years old. A good way to tell if your child is ready for the seat belt is that their feet can touch the floor of your vehicle.
- The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat — it’s the law.
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