(ATLANTA) While National Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week will look a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is encouraging parents and caregivers across Georgia to take the opportunity to make sure their precious cargo is riding in a properly installed car seat or booster seat.
CPS Week is dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers about the importance of correctly choosing, installing, and using car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. This year in Georgia, the highlight of the week will be virtual car seat checks held on Sept. 26 for National Seat Check Saturday. Parents are encouraged to click HERE to sign up for a virtual appointment, which will include instruction on how to install and use car seats correctly. Technicians will also help determine if your child is in the right seat for their age and size, and explain the importance of registering car seats with their manufacturers in order to be notified if there is a recall.
“We strongly encourage parents, grandparents and caregivers who transport little ones to take advantage of the virtual car seat checks being offered during CPS Week,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said. “Unfortunately, we know that traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for children under 13. Getting your car seat checked could help save a young life.”
During CPS Week, GOHS will also be posting a series of short educational videos on its social media channels to help parents/caregivers navigate the in’s and out’s of car seats and child passenger safety. Viewers can look for those videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“More than half the child safety seats found by technicians on the road are not installed properly, and that could increase the risk of injury to your child in the event of a crash,” GOHS Child Passenger Safety Coordinator Amanda Jackson said. “Even during a pandemic, it is important for parents and guardians to schedule, with a certified CPS technician, a virtual seat check or an in-person check that adheres to all social distancing guidelines.”
Indeed, if caregivers aren’t able to do a virtual seat check on Sept. 26, they can visit http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/fitting-locations for a county-by-county list of fitting stations across Georgia. Those locations can be contacted to see if they are doing virtual seat checks or if in-person checks are being performed with social distancing measures.
Georgia state law requires child passengers to be restrained in a car seat or booster seat appropriate for their height and weight until the age of 8. Why? Because research shows car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent with infants and 54 percent with toddlers in passenger vehicles. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates a child under 13 was involved in a traffic crash every 32 seconds in 2018.
In addition, NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seat. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible,” or all-in-one car seat. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seat belts safely. And if children are under 13 years old, they should always sit in the back seat.
For more information on child passenger safety in Georgia, visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website at www.gahighwaysafety.org or on our social media channels linked below.