Statewide â€œSeat-Check Saturdayâ€
Events Will Help Ensure Safe Travel for Children
SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Head Start Association and AAA joined efforts today to launch the 2013 National Child Passenger Safety Week in Illinois. The annual campaign brings attention to properly securing all children in appropriate car seats, booster seats or standard seat belts.
The week concludes with National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 21, when certified child passenger safety technicians will provide free advice and hands-on child safety seat inspections at 88 events across Illinois. This yearâ€™s campaign focuses on safety awareness, education and service especially to Head Start children and families. More than 52,800 children participated in Illinois Head Start during the 2011-2012 program year.
â€œEvery child in Illinois depends on their parents or guardians for their safety,â€ said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. â€œIDOT works diligently each day to further improve our effective child passenger program by providing parents and caregivers with the most current information on car seat safety. Our most important job is to help ensure our loved ones travel safely on state roadways.â€
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children through age 13. Based on national crash data averages, nearly two children under 13 were killed and 338 were injured across the nation every day while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans in 2011. In Illinois, an all-time high of 93.7 percent of citizens wear seat belts and 90.5 percent of children are traveling in car seats. However, IDOT data shows that only three of every five of those car seats are being used correctly.
â€œSince one of the leading causes of death and injury for children is automobile crashes, parents should make sure that their children are being transported safely and properly,â€ said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.Â â€œToo many child safety seats are improperly installed. This yearâ€™s National Child Passenger Safety Week is a good time to encourage parents and caregivers to set up a child safety seat fitting to give parents the peace of mind that their children are properly secured.â€
â€œThe Illinois Head Start Association is proud to partner with the Illinois Department of Transportation in an effort to keep our children safe through properly installed car seats,â€ said Lauri Morrison-Frichtl, Executive Director of the Association. â€œWhile we have had a long standing partnership with IDOT, this statewide campaign ensures that our children and their families buckle up and travel safely on our roads.â€
â€œSeat Check Saturday serves as an excellent time to remind families across Illinois to have your car seats checked by a certified car seat technician,â€ said Brad Roeber, Regional President of AAA Chicago. â€œToo often we see children not buckled up properly; so a quick stop through one of these numerous seat check events should be in all familiesâ€™ plans for Saturday, September 21.â€
According to manufacturer instructions, parents and grandparents are encouraged to follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationâ€™s car seat recommendation to keep children in their specific restraint types for as long as possible. For maximum safety, a parent or caregiver should have the car seat installation inspected by a certified child passenger safety technician to ensure their children are in the right seats for their age and size. Additional guidelines are as follows:
Rear-facing seats must remain in the back seat, from birth of child to the height and weight limit of the seat; recommended up to 2 years old, but at a minimum age of 12 months, and 20 pounds.
Forward-facing seats must be placed in the back seat after the child has reached the height or weight limit of the rear-facing seat, to about age 4 and 40-65 pounds.
Booster seats should be placed in the back seat on children age 4 to at least age 8.
Seat belts are for children age 8 or older, and taller than 4-foot-9.
In addition, all children age 13 or younger should ride in the back seat. Seat belt use is required by Illinois law in all automobile seating positions.
For more information on child passenger safety and on statewide seat checks taking place Sept. 21, visit www.buckleupillinois.org.