Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the week of September 15 -- 21, 2013 has been designated as Child Passenger Safety Week. The goal of Child Passenger Safety Week is to raise awareness and remind parents and caregivers to make sure that they are properly using and installing their child safety seats. As part of this national safety initiative, state and local police agencies and various community safety partners will be offering free child car seat inspections by certified child passenger safety technicians, along with help finding the right car seat for their child's age and size.
"New York State is declaring this week "Child Passenger Safety Week' as part of a public awareness and safety initiative taking place all across the country to better protect our children when traveling," Governor Cuomo said. "Properly installed car seats can greatly reduce the risk of death or injury during an accident, so I encourage New Yorkers to use this opportunity to make sure young children are properly buckled into their car seats before hitting the road. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes."
"Our children are our most precious cargo, and protecting them is one of the most important highway safety endeavors we undertake," said Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) Chair Barbara J. Fiala. "Learning how to properly install and use child safety equipment only takes a few minutes, but could prevent a lifetime of loss."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old in the United States.
A recent survey by NHTSA found that the following are the five most significant and commonly observed mistakes made by parents and caregivers when using and installing car seats and booster seats:
*Wrong harness slot used -- The harness straps used to hold the child in the car seat were positioned either too low or too high;
*Harness chest clip positioned over the abdomen rather than the chest or not used at all;
*Loose car seat installation -- The restraint system moved more than two inches side-to-side or front-to-back; anything more than one inch is too much.
*Loose harness - More than two inches of total slack between the child and the harness strap; there should be no slack.
*Seat belt placement was wrong -- Lap belt resting over the stomach and/or shoulder belt on the child's neck or face.
The survey also revealed that 20 percent of all drivers of child passengers did not read any instructions on how to properly install their child restraints, yet 90 percent felt "confident" or "very confident" that their car seats and booster seats were installed correctly.
NHTSA recommendations for purchasing and using child safety seats:
*Select a car seat based on your child's age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
*Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer's instructions; read the vehicle owner's manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
*To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements.
*Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.