Ensure Your Child is Always Buckled Up and in the Right Seat

Child Passenger Safety Week 2019

By Wanda Yamashita and Cori Benson
EBC – Eastside Baby Corner

The most important task of a parent or caregiver is to keep their children safe. Part of that responsibility is ensuring children are safely buckled up in the correct, and properly installed, car seat for their ages and sizes, whether they are riding with you or another family member. This choice could mean the difference between life, serious injury, or death for your children. You have a long list of things you do for your children every day because you love them. Making sure your children are safe, are in the right car seats or booster seats, and that they are being used correctly every time, should be at the very top of that list. (EBC – Eastside Baby Corner promotes child safety and parent/caregiver support by supplying 1,700 car seats each year to children experiencing homelessness, economic insecurity or family disruption).

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children 12 and younger. From 2013-2017, there were 3,313 children killed while riding in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs. While fatalities and injuries were both down in 2017 from 2016 – an eight percent decrease in fatalities and an estimated 19 percent decrease in injuries – there is still more work to do to eliminate these preventable tragedies.
That’s why events such as Child Passenger Safety Week, being held September 15-21, 2019, are so critical in helping parents and caregivers learn about proper car seat installation, and how to use car seats correctly. Technicians can also discuss car seat selection with parents, if parents have questions about transitioning their child to another type of seat.

No matter their age, your children rely on you to keep them safe. When traveling, the best ways to protect them are to place them in the right car seats for their ages and sizes, to install the seats correctly, and to ensure that the car seats fit properly in the back seat of your vehicle – every single time. Because the consequences of misused car seats can be disastrous, always take the time to read the car seat instructions and consult your vehicle manual. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of car seats are misused.

Research shows that when used correctly, car seats decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in cars, and by 58 percent and 59 percent, respectively, for infants and toddlers in light trucks. Additionally, using the tether on a forward-facing car seat reduces the chances of injury in a crash.

As children grow and transition from one type of car seat to another, parents sometimes become less vigilant about ensuring that their children are properly buckled in the right seats for their ages and sizes. The latest data from NHTSA shows that when it comes to restraint use, more than one-third (35%) of the children who died in passenger vehicles in 2017 were not buckled up at all, with the majority of them being children between 8 and 12. In 2017, among children under 5, car seats saved an estimated 312 lives. A total of 371 children could have survived if they had been buckled up 100-percent of the time. Children need to be buckled in, and in the right kind of seat, whether it’s a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat with a tether, a booster seat, or a seat belt in the back seat—every trip, every time.

The highlight of Child Passenger Safety Week is National Seat Check Saturday, being held on September 21, 2019. On this day, parents and caregivers can visit local inspection stations and car seat check events and have their children’s car seats inspected by certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who can teach them how to install their car seats properly. Technicians can help parents and caregivers learn the correct installation method for their child’s car seat and help determine if their children are ready to move from rear-facing to forward-facing seats, from forward-facing seats to booster seats, or from booster seats to seat belts. The technicians can also show parents how to register their car seat with its manufacturer so that they’ll be notified in the case of recalls.
EBC – Eastside Baby Corner will be participating in National Seat Check Saturday and hosting a car seat check at their Issaquah location on September 21 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Registration is preferred, visit www.tinyurl.com/ebc-september2019 to sign up, but walk-ins are also welcome.

Since 2016, EBC has hosted car seat checks in nine communities across King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties and helped more than 100 families properly install and buckle-up their children.
If you can’t make it to a National Seat Check Saturday event, you can still have your car seat checked at a Car Seat Inspection Station. To locate an inspection station in your area, go to nhtsa.gov/carseat, or download the free SaferCar app from iTunes or Google Play. The services these stations offer are available year-round, by appointment, and are free of charge.

Parents and caregivers can also visit nhtsa.gov/carseat to learn other tips on car seat safety, watch how-to videos, and sign up for car seat recall notifications.

 

Meet Our Founder – Karen Ridlon

Karen Ridlon founded Eastside Baby Corner (EBC) in 1990.   A certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (University of California, San Francisco, 1972), Karen worked as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in California and Washington, working in well child care, newborn care and newborn ICU support for a number of medical groups and doctors. Karen founded Eastside Baby Corner to fill an unmet need of parents of newborns who lacked basic supplies for their children.

She is Executive Director Emeritus and a lifetime member of the EBC Board of Directors. Karen has been recognized for her efforts with many volunteer awards, including receiving the Leadership Eastside LENi Community Choice Leadership Award in 2013, Distinguished Member Award for the Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP (National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) in 2013, Issaquah Schools Foundation Golden Apple Award (2009), and chosen as a UCSF Distinguished Alumni. Karen was a key player in the development of the Issaquah Community Center and has been a tireless contributor to many volunteer efforts over the years including scouting, the public schools, and her church. Karen is the mother of three children and a proud resident of Issaquah, where she lives with her husband. 

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