As we mark the beginning of National Child Passenger Safety Week, there is plenty of good news to share about child safety seats.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, properly used child safety seats decrease the risk of death by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. We also know that older children are 59% less likely to be injured in a booster seat than if they were using seat belts only.
This boils down to one simple message: If you are driving with children, the most effective step you can take to prevent harm to your young passengers in the event of a crash is to buckle them into a correctly installed safety seat appropriate to their height and weight.
Unfortunately, not enough drivers are taking that step. A recent report from Safe Kids USA shows that only 29 percent of drivers who carry young passengers are using the tethers that secure child seats in crashes. And, of those who do use the top tether to protect their children's heads, only 59 percent are using them correctly.
While the report shows that child safety seat use has improved in many categories--for example, parents and caregivers are buckling children up more often than they were during a 2007 study--we know we can do better for our nation's kids.
And to help us better protect our kids, Child Passenger Safety Week winds up on September 24 with National Seat Check Saturday. At sites around the country, certified child safety seat technicians will be on hand to inspect car seats and assist parents and caregivers with correct installation.
You can find information about safety seat checks near you at www.nhtsa.gov/cps/CPSFitting/index.cfm.
But that's not all we have in store; stay tuned later this week for an announcement about another exciting child safety initative.
It's all part of NHTSA's efforts to keep Americans and their children safe in and around automobiles. And it's one more way we at DOT demonstrate that safety truly is our number one priority.