An average of three children age 14 and younger were killed and 469 were injured every day in the United States in motor vehicle crashes during 2011. That same year, an estimated 263 children under age five were saved by proper child restraint use. In fact, the number of fatalities for children age 8-14 decreased by 49 percent from 2002-2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Despite the downward trend, motor vehicle crashes were still the leading cause of death from 2009-2011 for children ages 0-17 in Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Health. The risk of death for infants riding in a properly fitted and installed child safety seat decreases by 71 percent and by 54 percent for toddlers. Additionally, child passengers who experience minor injuries or are not injured at all in a collision are properly restrained 86 percent of the time.
“A properly fitted and installed child safety seat is a parent’s best defense in saving the lives of and preventing injury of their children in crashes,” said Jennifer Cook, senior manager of Corporate Communications at AAA Washington. “Three out of four car seats are not installed properly. AAA Washington encourages parents to follow the directions of their vehicle and car seat manuals for proper fit and installation. Parents can have their safety seat installation checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety technician to ensure the safest ride possible for their child.”
Child Passenger Safety Week marks the perfect time to visit a car seat inspection event near you. Visit AAA’s Traffic Safety page at www.aaasafeseats4kids.com and click “Seat Check Locator” to find an inspection event near you. This website also features information and videos about proper child safety seat selection and installation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child rear-facing until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their safety seat or up to their second birthday. For older children, it’s safest for them to ride in a booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least eight years old. Visit www.aaasafeseats4kids.com for more tips to help ensure your child is properly restrained in the car.
AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its 1,065,000 members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.