Shortly after writing the article titled “Save a Child – Use a Car Seat” my daughter asked me “Mom, why would you write an article about using car seats? Everyone puts their child in a car seat.”
I owned Awesome Beginnings 4 Children for 18 years. I KNOW that NOT everyone uses a car seat! I filled my daughter in on all the things I had witnessed in just the last few of my “daycare years”.
I saw children leaving my daycare:
- Who were under the age of 4 that were put in the front seat without any restraint (car seat or seat belt)
- That were sitting on their father’s lap (in the driver’s seat) helping to drive/pretending to drive
- In the front seat (children that were under the age of 10)
- That were being picked up by a family friend that had their own children with – which meant each child wouldn’t even have his/her own seat belt let alone a car seat
- That were age 4 & up that were not in a booster seat (many children)
I want to be sure and say that I didn’t just repeatedly watch this happening and do nothing.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the United States!
We all have full-coverage insurance on our vehicles if the value warrants it. We don’t want to LOSE our vehicle to a crash. We need to INSURE that our children are safe too during the most dangerous thing that they do on a regular basis. We need to understand the danger of not using the proper child restraint (car seat/booster seat) EVERY time we drive some place – even if it’s only two blocks away!
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the United States killing more children than ALL OTHER DISEASES COMBINED.
- Car crashes are the #1 preventable cause of death of children and young adults, as well as a major cause of permanent brain damage, epilepsy and spinal cord injuries.
- In a crash at 30 miles per hour an unrestrained child would hit the dashboard with as much force as a fall from a 3-story building.
- Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and 54% for children ages 1 to 4 years.
- For children 4 to 7 years, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts alone.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends booster seats for children until they are at least 8 years of age or 4’9” tall and that this is the law in most states.
- All children ages 12 and younger should ride in the back seat (the safest part of the vehicle).
- Overall, for children under 16 years, riding in the back seat is associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of serious injury.
- Most motor vehicle crashes that involve children occur within 20 minutes from home and at speeds of less than 45 miles per hour.
- The majority of crashes involving children occur on local roads and in parking lots! (Partners for Child Passenger Safety Fact and Trend Report)
- Only 12% of crashes take place on a divided highway. (Partners for Child Passenger Safety Fact and Trend Report)
- A car seat’s primary function is to prevent ejection from the vehicle. Ejection in a car crash makes death 4 times more likely.
The statistics of car seat usage:
- Ten percent of children under the age of 4 are not restrained in car seats (Ye & Pickrell, 2008).
- Fifty percent of children 4 to 7 years of age are not restrained in booster seats or child restraints (Glassbrenner & Ye, 2008), even though most states have booster seat laws (NHTSA, 2009).
- Federal statistics indicate that 80% (or more) of car seats are used incorrectly (NHTSA).
Riding in a motor vehicle is the most dangerous thing that your child does on a regular basis. Protect your child from the danger – ALWAYS use the CORRECT child restraint AND make sure that anyone that transports your child does the same.
To find out more about car seat safety and using the proper restraint for your child’s age/weight or about the laws in your state visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at www.nhtsa.gov.