(Victor Valley)- – Protecting children is always at the top of the list for parents and grandparents. One of the most important ways to accomplish this is by having a properly fitted, properly installed car seat whenever you travel with your young child. You may have noticed if you have used a car seat lately, they can seem a bit complicated.
Officer Joaquin Zubieta at the Victorville CHP office conducts weekly inspections. “I do free car seat inspections every Friday for parents, grandparents or other care givers that may not be sure if their car seat is installed correctly.”
“Inspections usually take about an hour and I make sure that the car seat is not recalled, that it is not expired, and that it is installed properly,” said Zubieta. “I show the parents or grandparents how to install it, then I’ll have them do it, and that way we can make sure that our babies are in the proper car seat.”
This week, September 18th-24th is National Child Passenger Safety Week. It is celebrated every year to remind parents and other caregivers of the need to keep children of all ages properly restrained in the seat that meets their weight and height requirements.
In auto crashes, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children younger than 1 and by 54 percent for children 1 to 4 in passenger cars, according to data collected by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Parents and caregivers should follow a few basic guidelines to determine which restraint system is best suited to protect children in a vehicle:
Top Child Passenger Safety Tips
- 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 at least 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 in booster seats, in a back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly.
- Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt rests on the shoulder or collar bone (usually when the child is between 8 and 12 years old, approximately 4’9” tall and 80 to 100 pounds).
To schedule an appointment with Officer Zubieta for a free car safety seat inspection, call the Victorville CHP office 760-241-1186.
For more information on car seats and child safety visit the NHTSA’s website: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS