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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The week of Sept. 19 to Sept. 25 has been declared Child Passenger Safety Week in West Virginia by Governor Jim Justice.
The West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) has been working with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to promote the observation of Child Passenger Safety Week, a week dedicated to the “importance of correctly choosing, installing, and using car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.”
“With school in session and sports underway, I know life is busy for many West Virginia families. I encourage you to take an hour or so out of this safety week to double and triple check your child’s car seat or booster seat. Make sure our most precious cargo is as safe as can be,” said Gov. Justice.
Research from the NHTSA showed that 46% of car seats are misused. Amy Boggs, Child Passenger Safety Program Coordinator for the GHSP, added that using size- and age-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce these deaths.
“We know parents and caregivers have a lot on their plates, so we hope that Child Passenger Safety Week will provide an opportunity for parents and caregivers to take a little time to ensure their child is as safe as possible when in a car, truck, van or SUV,” said Boggs.
No matter the vehicle type, children that have been correctly secured in the right car seat or booster seat for their size are the most safe in the case of an accident.
According to NHTSA recommendations, parents should keep their children in rear-facing seats for as long as their height and weight will allow. Once they outgrow that type of seat, they can move onto a forward-facing car seat. And after that, a booster seat until they are big enough to properly wear a seat belt.
The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat.
“More than one-third of children 12 and younger who died in crashes in 2019 while riding in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs were not properly secured – whether in a car seat or with a seat belt. Many of those kids could have survived if they had been properly secured in the vehicle,” Boggs concluded.
The week will end on Sept. 25 with National Seat Check Saturday. Those intersted in getting a car seat fitted by nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians can find a fitting station by visiting www.dmv.wv.gov/cps.
Other free resources include:
- Car Seat Types: Determine whether your child fits best in a rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
- Car Seat Recommendations: Review NHTSA’s recommendations for the best car seat for your child’s age and size.
- Find and Compare: Find and compare car seats with NHTSA’s handy car seat finder, which also searches specific brands.
- And other free, online resources available at https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats.
More information can be found on www.nhtsa.gov/therightseat. Information regarding the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program can be found by visiting www.dmv.wv.gov/ghsp or call 304-926-2509.