National Child Passenger Safety Week is currently taking place this week, Sept 18-22. Car crashes are currently the leading cause of death among children aged 1 to 13. Carolinians can help change these numbers by taking the proper precautions when driving.
“It is our responsibility as parents and guardians to ensure the safety of our children in vehicles,” said AAA Carolinas President Dave Parsons.“National Child Passenger Safety Week is a great platform for raising awareness about child safety in vehicles.”
Parents and guardians should adhere to the following North Carolina laws regarding child passenger safety:
- Children under the age 16 are to be properly restrained in an age, weight and height appropriate restraint.
- Children should ride rear-facing as long as possible (or at least until the age of 2).
- Once a child has outgrown the rear-facing seat’s height and weight limit, the child can then ride in a front-facing seat with a harness.
- Once the front-facing seat is outgrown as well, a child can then ride in a properly harnessed booster seat until the regular seatbelt fits the child’s size.
Parents and guardians should adhere to the following South Carolina laws regarding child passenger safety:
- Children under the age of two or weighing less than 20 lbs must be in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- Children of age two or weighing between 20 and 40 lbs must be in a forward-facing child safety seat.
- Children over four years, weighing 40 to 80 lbs must be in a belt-positioning booster seat. This booster seat must be used with both lap and shoulder belts.
- Any child of at least eight years of age or fifty-seven inches tall is permitted to use an adult safety belt if the belt fits across the child’s thighs and hips, the shoulder belt crosses the center of the child’s chest and the child is able to sit with they’re back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion with knees bent over the seat edge.
Organizations across the Carolinas are holding events to promote the education and implementation of proper car seat safety.
North Carolina governor Roy Cooper has endorsed the safety week and has additionally made Saturday, September 23 National Child Passenger Safety Day. On this day, parents and caregivers can stop by one of 241 permanent checking stations across the state to have a certified technician personally check car seats and booster seats in relation to the child’s weight, height and age.
South Carolina highway patrol will be visiting local schools throughout the week to educate students and parents on the proper way to secure a child passenger. Kohl’s Buckle Buddies is also providing free car seat safety classes and checks throughout the week and the list of specific events can be found here.
Parents and guardians are also encouraged to review the following five common car seat mistakes to try to prevent them going forward:
- Moving your child out of a booster seat too soon.
- Not installing the car seat tightly enough.
- Harness straps are too loose.
- Retainer clip is too low.
- Turning your child forward-facing too soon.
AAA Carolinas urges parents to take the time this week and every week to ensure their child passengers are riding safely in their vehicles.