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State police troopers will be participating in the National Child Passenger Safety Week this week in an ongoing effort to draw attention to the threats faced by child passengers in motor vehicle crashes.
Through Sept. 22, local and state law enforcement agencies and highway safety professionals will unite in a nationwide effort to help give children the best possible chance to avoid injury or death in a crash by ensuring they are properly secured in motor vehicles. In addition to enforcing the state’s safety belt laws through numerous checkpoints and daily patrol, local troopers will be vigilant in the enforcement of the proper restraint of children in vehicles.
Child passenger safety experts recommend that expectant parents obtain and install a rear-facing child safety seat in their motor vehicle at least one month prior to the expected delivery date of their baby. Always read and follow the seat’s manufacturer’s instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual when installing the child safety seat.
“The best safety seat for your child is one that fits your child, your vehicle, and will be used correctly every time your child rides in the car” explains Major Kopy, commander of Troop K. Moreover, New York State law mandates that children are required to use a child safety restraint up to the age of eight years old.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of hospitalizations and hospital emergency department visits for children under one year of age in New York State. When properly installed and used, child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants riding in passenger cars. “Rear-facing child safety seats provide infants protection at a stage when they are most vulnerable to injury”, stated Major Kopy. “When a baby rides rear-facing, their head, neck and torso are cradled by the back of the safety seat reducing the risk of injury in a crash.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible, up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat for the best possible protection. At a minimum, infants should ride rear-facing in a semi-reclined position until they reach age two and weigh over 20 pounds. There are safety benefits for keeping children in rear-facing child safety seats longer.
A recent research study found that children one-to-two years-old were five times safer when riding in rear-facing child safety seats when compared to forward-facing child safety seats. Many convertible child safety seats have higher weight limits which allow children to ride rear-facing longer.Parents and caregivers who need help installing a child safety seat or have questions about child passenger safety can receive hands-on educational assistance by making an appointment with a certified child passenger safety (CPS) technician or attending a child safety seat check-up event. “National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 22 provides numerous car seat check events throughout the state. We encourage everyone to get their child safety seats checked by a certified technician to ensure that your children are being transported inside your vehicle in the safest manner possible,” urged Major Kopy.
For a list of certified CPS technicians, child safety seat fitting stations, and child safety seat check-up events in your area, visit www.safeny.ny.gov and click on Child Passenger Safety for Parents.