The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration working with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has designated September as Child Passenger Safety Month. The campaign is designed to bring attention to both parents and car dealers that children need to have special safety needs met through things like booster seats, seat belts, safety seats, and more.
Across the country, car dealerships will be offering a free service: to inspect child safety seats in cars. NADA offers its membership assistance with being prepared to do these inspections as well as promoting their dealership as being a sponsor of the annual “Boost Safety” program.
- Children and youth from birth to age 14 represented 21 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2002 American Community Survey.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 2 years of age, and for people of every age from 4 to 34 years old.
- Although the fatality rate has decreased, the total number of child occupant deaths is still high. This is due to population increases and a near doubling, over the past 20 years, of the number of miles Americans travel on our Nation’s highways.
- In 2002, the use of child restraints saved an estimated 376 lives.
- Of the 459 occupant fatalities among children from birth through age 4 in 2002, nearly 40 percent were completely unrestrained.
- During 2002, a total of 1,785 children from birth through age 15 were killed in passenger vehicle crashes. Approximately 54 percent of passenger vehicle occupants in this age group were unrestrained: 40.4 percent of children from birth through age 4 were unrestrained; 48.6 percent of children ages 5 through 9 were unrestrained; and 62.3 percent of children ages 10 through 15 were unrestrained.
- If 100 percent of motor vehicle occupants younger than age 5 had been protected by child safety seats, an estimated 485 lives (an additional 109 lives) could have been saved in 2002.
- From 1975 through 2002, an estimated 6,567 lives were saved by the use of child restraints (child safety seats or adult belts).
Parents have a legal duty to keep their children safe, and this free inspection is a great opportunity for parents to have their child’s safety seat inspected in their vehicle to double check that everything’s working as it should be. However, everyone should recognize that an inspection at a dealership doesn’t guarantee the future: products fail or get recalled and accidents may happen which may still seriously injure or kill children in this country no matter how protective and alert the parents.