Almost 90% of child passenger seats and restraints are used incorrectly!
Road injuries are among the leading cause of unintentional child deaths in the country, with one in four child fatalities attributed to a mishap that occurred when the infant/child was riding in a passenger vehicle. Each year, the lives of more more than 600 children meet a tragic end in the United States, not as pedestrians or while riding bicycles, but as passengers in motor vehicles involved in an accident.
Although there has been a significant reduction in the number of such fatalities between 1975 and 2012, the statistics are still enough to make parents sit up and take notice. In fact, as you read this, nearly 14 children will suffer from serious injuries in road crashes across the United States. Despite these shocking numbers, over 600,000 children are driven around without safety restraints or child safety seats every year.
Are parents doing enough to protect their children?
Apparently not, and these figures prove it!
- – 37% of children who die in car crashes each year are not restrained.
- – Nearly 55% of children in the age group of 4-7 years travel without booster seats.
- – Approximately 25% of children are restrained only with seat belts.
- – Almost 10% of children are driven around unrestrained.
Kansas child passenger safety law!
The state of Kansas has well established laws when it comes to child passenger safety. The rules concerning the use of restraints for child safety in a vehicle have several components which outline age specific requirements of safety gear and seating arrangements. Here are some tips to keep your child safe in a motor vehicle:
- – If your child is under one year old, he/she should ride in a rear facing car seat.
- – Children who are below the age of four should travel in a rear facing car seat for as long as possible.
- – Kids in the age group of 4-8 must have a booster seat unless they are above the height and weight requirement of 4 feet 9 inches and 80 pounds.
- – Any child under the age of 18 years old is required to wear a seat belt whenever the car is in motion.
Help is available from several agencies for new parents as well as for those who cannot afford safety equipment. If you are not sure about the proper installation of a safety seat, you can visit free fitting stations all over the state to have the booster seat checked. Low income families can also find information on programs that assist them to procure safety seats for their children from Safe Kids Kansas.
No negotiation on Kansas Child passenger safety Laws!
If you are found violating any part of the Child Passenger Safety Act of Kansas, you will be fined $60 and will have to bear any court costs involved.
The right car seat and the right restraint: The only way to keep your child safe!
Almost 50% of car and booster seats are misused in ways that compromise their ability to protect the designated child. What’s more, on average, at least three installation errors are found in most booster seats and the improper use of car seats, when it comes to child passengers, stands at a staggering 90%. So, here are a few tips that will help you to ensure that your child is safely and properly restrained when travelling with you.
- – Children below the age of one and who weigh less than 20 pounds should always travel in rear facing car seats.
- – The shoulder straps in rear facing seats should be below the shoulders of the child.
- – Never place the rear facing car seat in front of an airbag that will activate on impact.
- – Use a forward/front facing car seat only if it has a five point harness and this too should be used exclusively for children older than one and for those who weigh more than 20 pounds.
- – Your child should remain in a five point harness seat until the age of four and until he/she weighs 40 pounds.
- – When using a forward facing seat, ensure that the harness strap is above your child’s shoulders.
Ages 4 to 12 years old
- – Move your child to a belt positioning booster seat only after he/she has turned 4 years old and has reached the minimum weight requirement of 40 pounds.
- – When using a belt positioning booster seat, make sure that the child is restrained with both the lap and shoulder belts.
- – The belt positioning booster seat should also be placed in the back seat of the vehicle.
- – Children below the age of 12 should not be allowed to ride in the front seat of the vehicle.
- – If the booster seat is right for your child, the lap belt will fit snugly across the hips and the shoulder harness across the chest and shoulders. If the belts do not sit in these positions, it simply means that your child does not fit properly in the safety seat.
Just how important is it to use the right car seat for your child?
- – Restraining children in the age group of 0-3 in the rear seat instead of the front seat reduces the risk of fatal injury by 75%.
- – Kids in the age group of 4-7 have a 50% lower risk of fatal injuries when seated in rear facing car seats.
- – Toddlers and newborns have a 76% greater risk of suffering from life threatening injuries when riding in forward facing seats.
- – High back booster seats reduce the risk of serious injuries by almost 50%.
- – Kids riding in the middle rear facing seat have a 46% lower risk of grave injuries in case of crashes.
This is when you can move your child to adult safety belts!
- Your child can graduate to adult safety belts when he/she can lean all the way back in the seat with his feet flat on the floor.
- The seat belts should fit snugly across the hips, chest and shoulders, without the need for the child to shift or slouch to make the belt touch his/her stomach, shoulders, neck or chest.
As a thumb rule, don’t let your kids ride in the front seat until they have reached the age of 13. Apart from the safety aspect, it is also less distracting to have a teen riding in the front seat with you as compared to a toddler or a young child.
A few more tips to keep your kids safe!
- – Check your car’s manual to learn about the best place to install a booster/safety seat.
- – Try not to carry toys in your car as the child may inadvertently try to wiggle out of the safety seat to reach for the toy.
- – If toys are carried, ensure that you pick soft toys that won’t cause harm in case of a crash.
- – Never leave your child alone in the vehicle, no matter what season or time of the day.
- – Buckle up because drivers who are diligent about seat belt use tend to ensure that all passengers in the vehicle are properly restrained.