Free clinic focuses on child safety seats


First Posted: 1/15/2009

Staff report

LUMBERTON — Linda Hughes, coordinator for Safe Kids Robeson County Coalition, urges parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed in their vehicles.
As part of National Child Passenger Safety Week — Sept. 21-27 — Safe Kids Robeson County, the state Highway Patrol, and the Jerry Johnson Chevrolet dealership will have English and Spanish-speaking certified technicians available to provide free on-site child safety seat inspections from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturda at 500 Linkhaw Road in the dealership’s repair bay.
“It’s the responsibility of every single parent and caregiver out there to make sure their children are safely restrained — every trip, every time,” said Sgt. Joel A. Siles, traffic safety information officer with Troop B Headquarters of the state Highway Patrol. “We are urging everyone to get their child safety seats inspected. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes.” .
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, the lives of 8,325 children age 5 and younger have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years. In 2006, among children 5 and younger, an estimated 425 lives were saved by child restraint use. Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8; after age 8 seat belts provide the best protection.
For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
— For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
— When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats with a harness, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
— Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride in booster seats with a lap shoulder seat belt, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly across the chest and hips. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest without touching the neck (usually at age 8 or when they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall and at least 80 pounds).
— When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use the adult seat belts in the back seat, if they fit properly. All children younger than 13 should always be in the back seat.
For information on Child Passenger Safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov or call Hughes at (910) 737-5008.

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