SAUGUS – Interim Chief Ronald Giorgetti and the Saugus Police Department would like to remind parents to make sure their children are properly buckled and in the correct car seat for their age and size.
This week, Sept. 15-21, is recognized as Child Passenger Safety Week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to the NHTSA, vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children. In 2017, 35 percent of children under the age of 13 killed in passenger vehicles were not restrained in car seats, booster seats or seat belts. Car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.
“A properly installed and secured child safety seat is the best protection for a child in a crash,” Chief Giorgetti said. “We hope parents will take some time this week to make sure their child is in the correct car seat and that it is installed correctly. We’re happy to assist parents and caregivers in installing or inspecting their child’s seat and we encourage parents to make an appointment with the police department.”
To keep your child safe, Chief Giorgetti and Saugus Police recommend making sure they’re in the correct car seat based on the following guidelines from the NHTSA:
The Right Car Seat for Your Child
- Infants under the age of one should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. A rear-facing car seat has a harness and in a crash, it cradles and moves with your child to reduce the stress to the child’s fragile neck and spinal cord.
- Once your child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, they can be moved to a forward-facing car seat. Forward-facing car seats have a harness and tether that limits your child’s forward movement during a crash. Tethers should always be used for forward-facing car seats.
- Once your child outgrows a forward-facing car seat, they can be moved to a booster seat. A booster seat positions the seat belt so that it is properly over the stronger parts of your child’s body. Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly.
- For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. The proper placement of a seat belt restrains the child safely in a crash.
- Your child should not be moved to the next car seat level until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. In 2015, about 25.8 percent of children ages four to seven were prematurely moved to seat belts, when they should still have been riding in booster seats.
- Children under 13 should ALWAYS ride in the back seat.
Massachusetts parents are reminded that a child restraint is required for children ages seven and younger and under 57 inches tall. Adult safety belts are safe for children once they are eight to 12 years old or 57 inches or taller.
Always make sure your car seat is installed correctly. Most parents are confident that they have correctly installed their child’s car seat, but in 59 percent of cases the seat has not been installed correctly. Read and carefully follow the installation instructions included with a car seat, as well as the vehicle owner’s manual. Incorrect installation can expose a child passenger to the risk of injury or death in a crash.
The Saugus Police Department offers child safety seat inspections free of charge and can answer any questions you may have about using a car seat or booster. To schedule an appointment please call 781-941-1190.
Additional information on child safety seats can be found at www.nhtsa.gov.