ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Alachua County Department of Public Safety and Safe Kids North Central Florida urge parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed in their vehicles at the third annual "National Seat Check Saturday, on Saturday, September 12, 2009. Safe Kids and Alachua County Department of Public Safety will have certified child passenger safety technicians available to provide hands-on instruction on installing car seats and booster seats at Alachua County Fire Rescue Station #17 (3509 NW 143rd Street, near the corner of 241 and NW 39th Avenue, Jonesville) from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Also, free bicycle helmets will be fitted to youth ages 5-13 as long as supplies last.
"It's the responsibility of every parent and caregiver to make sure their children are safely restrained - every trip, every time and at every age," said Debora Regan, Director of Safe Kids. "We are urging everyone to have their child checked to be sure they are using the right restraint-a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes."
Safe Kids coalitions around the country are joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) in National Seat Check Saturday activities to kick off Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from September 12 through 18. Safe Kids Buckle Up, the child passenger safety program of Safe Kids USA in partnership with General Motors, holds child safety seat checkups and other vehicle safety events throughout the year. Nationwide, the Safe Kids Buckle Up program has reached more than 20 million people and has inspected more than 1.1 million car seats.
According to Safe Kids, parents and caregivers should follow a few basic guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect their children in a vehicle:
- For the best possible protection keep infants in a back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible-up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. Never turn a child forward-facing before age 1 and at least 20 pounds, although keeping kids rear-facing until age 2 is safer and preferred if the seat allows.
- When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in a back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular harnessed seat. Many newer seats exceed the old 40 pound weight limit.
- Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride on booster seats, in a back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly.
- Seat belts fit properly when the child can pass the Safety Belt Fit Test: the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, the shoulder belt rests on the shoulder or collar bone and the knees bend naturally at the seat's edge (usually when the child is between 8 and 12 years old, approximately 4'9" tall and 80 to 100 pounds).
- After children fully outgrow their booster seats, they should use the adult seat belts in a back seat. The lap belt should lay across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits rests on the shoulder or collar bone.
For more information, click here or contact Debora Regan at 352-231-4636 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.