Child Passenger Safety Week
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) is teaming up with safety partners to participate in the national Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 23-29. Throughout the country, millions of parents and caregivers travel each day with children in their motor vehicles. While some of these children are buckled in properly and ride in the correct car seats for their age, height, and weight requirements, most do not. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two out of every three car seats are misused. To help combat this issue, the SCDPS partners annually with NHTSA to sponsor Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week in September. CPS Week is a campaign dedicated to helping parents and caregivers ensure their children ride as safely as possible; every trip, every time. “We cannot emphasize enough the importance of ensuring children’s car seats are installed and used correctly,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “Even if you think your child’s car seat is installed correctly, we urge you to get it checked with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician so you can be sure that your child is the safest he or she can be while traveling.” According to NHTSA, in 2015, about 25.8% of children ages 4 to 7 who should have been riding in booster seats were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 11.6% were unbuckled altogether. The best way to keep a child safe while in a motor vehicle is to use car seats that are age-and size-appropriate. In 2016, there were 328 children under the age of 5 saved nationwide because they were in the proper car seats. According to the South Carolina Child Passenger Safety Law, updated in 2017: An infant or child under 2 years of age must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat in a rear seat of the vehicle until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat. A child at least 2 years of age (or under 2 years of age who has outgrown the rear-facing car seat) must be secured in a forward-facing car seat in a rear seat of the vehicle until the child exceeds the highest height or weight requirements of the forward-facing car seat. A child at least 4 years of age who has outgrown his/her forward-facing seat, must be secured in a booster seat in a rear seat of the vehicle until the child can meet the height and fit requirements for an adult safety seat belt. Lap and shoulder belts must be used. A child at least 8 years of age or at least 57 inches tall may be restrained by an adult safety belt, if the child can be secured properly. To view the full text of the SC Child Passenger Safety law, parents and caregivers can visit www.buckleupsc.com/safety_seat_law.asp. Parents should register car seats or booster seats with the seat manufacturer to be notified in the event of a recall. More information on car seat safety and locations of certified technicians is available at www.nhtsa.gov/carseat.