A new report finds more Iowa motorists are buckling up their kids, but there’s still room for improvement. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says Iowa remains a national leader in child restraint use with a rate of 94% last year.
The bureau’s occupant protection coordinator Mark Nagle says the number of kids killed in vehicle crashes in Iowa also fell last year to six, down from eight the year before. Also, between 40 and 60 Iowa children are seriously hurt in crashes every year.
“We have noticed a trend downward,” Nagel says. “We’re hoping that’s because of all the public education and training that we’ve provided, however, we still say that is way too many injuries, too many deaths, and we’re going to continue trying to make that go lower.”
While parents of newborns are particularly attentive to the safety seat rules, he says they grow more lax about restraints as the kids grow. “Infant children are nearly always secured properly in a vehicle,” Nagel says.
“We start to lose them when they get to the booster seat age. They start to think that the kids are big enough to sit without any kind of device or sit in the front seat.” Parents need the right seat for their kid’s size. “What you have to do is put the proper seat in for your child,” Nagel says.
“Every seat has measurements and weight limits on them.” A national study found 75% of parents who do use child safety seats are using them incorrectly, though Nagle says Iowans are doing a much better job.
For more information on fitting a seat to a child, or to find Iowa Fit Stations and safety checkups in your area, visit the website: www.blankchildrens.org/child-passenger-safety