Car Seat Safety Saves Lives
By 2016, most of us are now aware that children should be fitted in an age-appropriate car seat. But did you know that the CDC still estimates that more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 ride in a vehicle without a car seat or seatbelt each year?
If your child does use a car seat or seatbelt, does this mean they’re safe? Not necessarily. And according to MoDOT, not likely. They estimate that nearly 73% of all child restraints are used incorrectly. With motor vehicle crashes being the leading cause of death among children in the United States, it is vital for parents, caregivers, and educators to learn the proper safety guidelines.
Do you know Missouri’s laws regarding age, height, and weight requirements for child restraints?
- Children less than 4 years old or less than 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat
- Children ages 4 through 7 who weigh at least 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat unless they are 80 pounds or 4’9″ tall
- Children 8 and over or weighing at least 80 pounds or at least 4’9” tall are required to be secured by a safety belt or buckled into an appropriate booster seat
As a social worker at Lutheran Family and Children’s Services, I work with many parents who are surprised to learn that:
- Their children should use a car seat or booster seat until age 8 or 80 pounds
- Their child should be in a rear-facing car seat until age 2 (or when they reach the height/weight limits)
- The car seat chest clip should be tightly fitted at armpit level
- Car seats expire about 6 years after manufacture (check the back of the car seat for the expiration date)
After realizing how many of the children I work with don’t have car seats or aren’t fitted in them properly, I knew it was time to take action. On October 17, Safety Stop at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital partnered with Lutheran Family and Children’s Services to provide car seats to our families in need. Clients of LFCS were provided an age, height, and weight appropriate car seat free of charge. A certified safety technician from Safety Stop installed the car seats in the families’ vehicles and provided car seat education to ensure child safety. Several of these children were previously using a car seat that they had outgrown, a car seat that was installed incorrectly, or they were not using a car seat at all.
Programs like Safety Stop ensure the increased safety of our children on their way to school, doctor appointments, dance recitals, and sports practice. The certified child passenger safety technicians at Safety Stop can check your car seat for free to make sure it is installed correctly and safely fitted to your child.
Every properly fitted car seat has the potential to save a life. Learn the car seat safety laws and help make Missouri a safer place for kids. Our children’s lives depend on it.
For more information, visit:
MoDOT Safety Laws: http://www.modot.org/safety/newlaws.htm
CDC Car Seat Safety Facts: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html
Safety Stop at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital: (314) 454-KIDS (5437); http://www.stlouischildrens.org/health-resources/community-education/safety-stop