Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


Child Passenger Safety Week September 20-27, 2008

Safe Kids Coalitions hold Child Safety Seat Check Up Events

Safe Kids Kansas urges parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed in their vehicles. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be available to provide hands-on instruction on how to use and properly install child safety seats at local Safe Kids events across Kansas during Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20-27. Safe Kids Coalitions also hold regular check up events and fitting stations throughout the year. In the last eight years, a total of 47,246 child safety seats have been checked at 1,915 local check up events in Kansas. To find your local Safe Kids Coalition, visit www.kansassafekids.org.

“ It’s the responsibility of every parent and caregiver to make sure their children are safely restrained – every trip, every time ,” said Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas Coordinator. “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.” A recent study found that car seat checkups provided by Safe Kids coalitions have been very effective in teaching parents important safety skills.

In addition to community check-up events, Safe Kids Kansas Coalitions have provided 23,427 child safety seats and booster seats to low-income families in our state. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, 8,325 lives of children under age 5 have been saved nationally by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years. In 2006 alone, an estimated 425 lives of children under age 5 were saved by child restraint use.

According to Stegelman, parents and caregivers should follow a few basic guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect their children in a vehicle:

  1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat of the vehicle, in a rear-facing child safety seat, as long as possible—up to the maximum weight or height limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear facing until at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds. Be sure to read and follow your child safety seat owner’s manual for correct usage and weight/height limitations.
     
  2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in a forward-facing child safety seat, in the back seat of the vehicle, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the harness of the particular seat.
     
  3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing harnessed seats (usually around age 4 and 40 or more pounds, depending upon the specific car seat) they should ride in booster seats, seated in the back seat of the vehicle, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Kansas Law states children must remain in a booster seat until the child reaches 8-years-old, 80 pounds, or 4’9” in height.
     
  4. After children fully outgrow their booster seats, they should use the adult seat belts in the back seat of the vehicle. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (staying off of the soft abdomen) and the shoulder belt rests on the shoulder or collarbone. The child’s legs should also bend naturally over the edge of the vehicle seat so as to discourage slouching, which can cause poor seat belt fit. This milestone usually occurs when the child is between 8 and 12 years old, is approximately 4’9” tall, and weighs between 80 to 100 pounds. Children should remain in the back seat position of the vehicle until at least age 13 for maximum safety.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area (including Butler, Harvey, Sedgwick and Sumner Counties) and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

www.kansassafekids.org