State transportation officials have joined a national effort to focus attention on the proper use of child safety seats in cars. Iowa Department of Transportation spokesperson, Dena Gray-Fisher, says national studies show roughly 3-out-of-4 people are not using the seats properly.
Gray-Fisher says the proper installation of safety seats can be confusing, so she recommends that you read the instructions carefully and also take advantage of various safety stations offered by many of the car dealers in the state to be sure they are properly installed.
Gray-Fisher says this is National Child Passenger Safety Week, and they’ve focused on the issue because of its potential to make a difference. She says motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages three to 14. “So it is a very tragic situation, and we do know that we can increase the likelihood of surviving a serious crash by being properly seated,” Gray-Fisher explains.
Gray-Fisher says there are simple things parents should remember, such as putting small infants in a back seat with the car seat facing to the back. Gray-Fisher says some people forget and put kids in the front-facing position. She says kids who are a little older than an infant, depending on their weight, can be in a forward facing seat. A booster seat is the next step, and then as they get older they can move to a seatbelt.
Gray-Fisher says Iowa law now requires anyone under the age of 18 to be properly restrained while riding in a vehicle. There is a lot of information available on-line from state and national sources to help you out. Gray-Fisher recommends the “Curb it, Click it” section of the D.O.T. website at IowaDOT.gov.
Or you can go to Facebook.com/childpassegersafety. The Facebook site contains information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.