Seat Checks and Safe Kids

By Debbie Hersman

This week, the traffic safety community is celebrating Child Passenger Safety Week. Tomorrow is National Seat Check Saturday. For many years, these events have helped raise awareness among parents and caregivers of the importance of properly installing child safety seats.

Car crashes are a leading killer of children ages 1 to 12 in the U.S. The proper use of a child safety seat or booster seat can make all the difference. But with the great variety in child restraints and motor vehicles, these devices are not the easiest equipment to install. In 1999, the NTSB called on all 50 states and the District of Columbia to establish permanent locations where caregivers could receive hands-on assistance from a certified technician in how to properly install and use child restraint systems. Today, there are more than 35,000 child passenger safety technicians and thousands of permanent fitting stations across the country assisting families and caregivers.

This past Wednesday, Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation celebrated fifteen years of educating communities, preventing injuries and saving lives through its Safe Kids Buckle Up program. With more than 600 coalitions across the country, Safe Kids Buckle Up volunteers provide parents and caregivers with free education and assistance to ensure that they are using the best child restraint system for their children and that they are using it correctly on every trip.

Yesterday, Dennis Collins, an NTSB investigator and Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor, volunteered at a seat check in his community in support of National Child Passenger Safety Week, one of thousands of technicians across the country who are providing free services to families across the country.

As a mother and child passenger safety technician I know first-hand how important the work of the Safe Kids coalitions and child passenger safety technicians around the country is. New parents are born every day. I encourage families to take advantage of the free education and installation help offered at a seat check event. To find a seat check event in your area this week, on Seat Check Saturday and throughout the year, visit www.seatcheck.org.

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