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Reference: Child Passenger Safety Week

Date of Release: February 8, 2007

Portsmouth Police, NHTSA, Others
Unite to Remind Parents of Importance of Child Passenger Safety
Valentine’s Week to Focus on Booster Seats

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 7,500 lives have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 20 years. Yet, motor vehicle crashes still remain the number one killer of children ages 4 to 14 in America. The reason? Too often it is the improper use or non-use of child safety seats and booster seats.

In 2005, an average of five children ages 14 and younger were killed and 640 were injured in motor vehicle crashes every single day.

That’s why the Portsmouth Police Department is joining with NHTSA and other state and local leaders around Valentine’s Day this year to commemorate Child Passenger Safety Week (Feb. 11-17).

On Sunday, February 11, 2007, NHTSA will kick-off the week with the first-ever National Seat Check Sunday in an effort to educate parents and to ensure all child safety seats are installed properly. The Portsmouth Police Department will continue to have three officers who are certified child passenger safety technicians providing free safety seat inspections on various days at various times by calling 603-610-7KID.

While 98 percent of America’s infants and 93 percent of children ages 1 to 3 are regularly restrained, not enough children ages 4 through 7 are restrained properly for their size and age. Only 10 to 20 percent of children ages 4 through 7 who should be using booster seats to protect them are actually in them. But children ages 4 to 8 who are placed in booster seats are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a car crash than children who are restrained only by a seat belt.

As children grow, how they need to be secured in a car, truck, van or SUV changes. Moreover, when you’re an expectant mother, it’s important to always wear your seat belt to protect you and your unborn child. Wear the lap belt across your hips and below your belly with the shoulder belt across your chest (between your breasts). Once your child is born, be a role model and continue to buckle up, every trip, every time.

For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers simply need to remember and follow the 4 Steps for Kids:
  1. For the best possible protection keep 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. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds;
  2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds);
  3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall);
  4. When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall) they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt across the chest).
This year, during Child Passenger Safety Week, please remember that if your children are under 4’9”, they need to be in a booster seat. What better way to show you love them on Valentine’s Day than to make sure they are secured properly? It might actually save your child’s life.

For more information about [National Seat Check Sunday,] Child Passenger Safety Week and the proper use of booster seats, please visit www.BoosterSeat.gov , www.SaferCar.gov or www.SeatCheck.org.

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 Emergency Dial 911, Portsmouth Police Department, 3 Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Tel: (603) 427-1500