Local officials observe Child Passenger Safety Week
BATON ROUGE - Sobering statistics reveal the need for increased efforts to ensure the safety of children when they're passengers in a vehicle.
In Louisiana, as in the rest of the country, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Nationally in 2019, 608 children died in traffic crashes, and 38 percent of those children were not properly restrained.
In hopes of seeing a dramatic decrease in such statistics, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is promoting Child Passenger Safety Week.
Throughout the week, guardians and caregivers are reminded that Louisiana’s child safety seat law only works if children are properly secured in the right seat, in the right position, every time.
The law went into effect in 2019 and it requires that children remain in the most protected category of child restraint according to the car seat manufacturer’s instructions and height and weight limitations.
It prevents children from graduating too quickly from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing car seat or booster seat.
The law also requires all children under the age of 13 to ride in the back seat with lap and shoulder belts.
“National experts rate Louisiana as having the best child safety seat law in the country, but people have to know it and follow it,” LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said. “We know a small percentage of people are putting children at extreme risk by not properly restraining them in the right car seat for their age and size.”
A recent observational survey in Louisiana revealed that more than 95 percent of infants are properly restrained when riding in a vehicle, but that percentage drops to about 65 percent of children 6-12 being properly restrained.
“As children get older, parents may tend to be less vigilant in properly using car seats and booster seats,” Freeman said. “Toddlers and pre-teens are still very vulnerable in a car crash, and a properly installed and utilized car seat or booster helps reduce the risk.”
Freeman pointed out what parents can do during this special week of increased safety awareness, saying, “Child Passenger Safety Week is a great reminder to double-check that your child’s safety seat is installed correctly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions,” Freeman said. “When it is used correctly, a child safety seat greatly increases your child’s chances of avoiding serious injury in a car crash.”
On Saturday, LHSC is partnering with the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force to offer free assistance with child safety seats as part of National Seat Check Saturday.
Nationally certified technicians will be on hand at these locations across the state to offer free installation and instruction on your car seat.
All locations are open from 9 a.m. to noon:
-Region A – EBRSO Traffic Office, 9313 Burbank Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70820
-Region B – Divine Mercy Church, 4337 Sal Lentini Pkwy., Kenner, LA 70065
-Region C – TBD
-Region D – Southwest Beverage, 3860 Broad St., Lake Charles, LA 70615
-Region E – Rapides Regional, 211 Fourth St., Alexandria, LA 71301
-Region F – Banner Ford, 6300 Frontage Rd. Monroe, LA 71202
-Region G – Caddo Sherriff’s Safety Town, 8910 Jewella Ave., Shreveport, LA 71118
-Region I – Ochsner-Lafayette General, 2810 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette, LA 70506
-Region L – Leblanc Pediatrics, 319 S. Tyler St., Covington, LA 70433
For more information about Louisiana’s child safety seat law and getting a technician to properly install a car seat, visit the Louisiana Passenger Safety Task Force Facebook page.
To learn more about types of car seats and which one best fits your child, visit the NHTSA car seat page.
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