Parents and other caregivers are being urged to register their child vehicle safety seats. Mark Nagel, with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says around 40 percent of the child safety seats that are purchased go unregistered, so parents and others miss out on manufacturer recall notices.
“Over the course of the last year, there were six million seats recalled for defects,” Nagel said. “The defects can be some improper wordage in the instructions, but they can also be faulty straps, faulty clips, and things like that.” The seats come with a registration slip that should be filled out and mailed or registration forms are available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
This is National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 13-19). Certified technicians are available statewide to check child safety seats. Nagel notes around 60 percent of the seats that are inspected are not installed correctly.
“The state of Iowa has over 300 certified child passenger safety technicians who can help parents,” Nagel said. Parents can locate the technicians in their area of the state through the Unity Point Blank Children’s Hospital website. When a child safety seat is used correctly, it can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent, according to the Safe Kids Coalition.
Nagel says all children should be riding in the back seat of a vehicle until at least age 13. Many parents are unsure when it’s safe to move a child out of a secured booster seat. “We have a rule called the ‘fit test’ where the child should be able to sit with his or her back flat against the back of the vehicle seat and their knees should bend over the front of the seat naturally with the child’s feet touching the floor,” Nagel said. “Then, we want to make sure that the lap portion of the seatbelt goes across the upper thigh area and the shoulder belt comes down across the collarbone.”
Many law enforcement agencies and other organizations are holding child car seat checkup events this week.