Car seat check up event helps Falls County residents
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project held a Free Car Seat CheckUp event in Falls County on Feb. 25 in cooperation with the Falls County AgriLife Extension Office and the TxDOT Waco District.
People came out from the corners of not only Falls County, but surrounding ones also, to get their car seats inspected and tested.
New car seats were provided to those who needed new ones after inspections.
The event was held to bring awareness to the need for properly restrained children in child safety seats.
The coordinators of the event maintain that the misuse of these seats is incredibly high, nearly 99 percent in their experience.
There were certified technicians on hand from the Falls County Extension Office, the Passenger Safety Project, and even state troopers who came out to help perform inspections.
To become a certified technician, an individual must have attended a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration course on correct use.
Effective Sept. 1, 2009, Texas Law states that “all children under the age of eight, unless taller than 4'9”, must be in a child safety seat system, which includes traditional car eats with harnesses or booster seats, according to the manufacturer's instructions.”
Are you using you child's safety seat correctly?
There are four general steps to graduating a child out of the safety seat system:
All infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing safety seats until they are 2 years old or until they reach the highest weight or height limit allowed by their seat. This is the best seat for a small child because it has harness that in a crash would cradle and move with the child to reduce stress to the child's neck and spinal cords. Straps should be kept at or below the shoulders.
All children 2 years or older, who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for the seat should use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their seat. This seat has a tether that limits the child's forward movement in the event of a crash. Harness straps should be kept at or above the shoulders; Chest Clip (“Retainer Clip”) should always go across the chest, armpit to armpit.
All Children who have outgrown the forward-facing limit for their seat and who are at least four years old, 40 pounds, and mature enough to stay in place should use a booster seat until the vehicle lap/shoulder belt fits properly, typically when they 4'9” in height. The booster seat effectively positions the seat belt so that it fits correctly over the stronger parts of a younger child.
When children are big enough to fit the vehicle seat belt properly, they should always use the lap/shoulder belts for best protection. A seat belt should always lie across the upper thighs and be snug across the should and chest in order to restrain the child safely during a crash; never across the abdominal area or neck.
Best Practices from Texas AgriLife Extension:
select a car seat based on your child's age and size and use it every time.
Refer to your vehicle's owner's manual to figure out how to properly install car seats; center rear is considered the safest position.
Keep infants in rear-facing seats as long as possible, until they outgrow height and weight requirements.
Keep toddlers in forward-facing seats as long as possible, until they outgrow height and weight requirements.
Children who are over eight years old, but not yet 4' 9” should be kept in a booster seat.
Children 12 and under should ALWAYS ride in the back; NEVER bring an infant up front with an active airbag.
Check the manufacturer's instructions for the life span of the seat. Most should not be used after 6 years.
Never use the same child safety seat after a crash occurs
Since 1999, the Texas Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project has overseen the inspection of over 32,000 child safety seats.
To get help understanding your child's safety needs or to find a certified Child Safety Seat Technician in your area, go to http://buckleup.tamu.edu. If you are unable to afford a seat, contact Safe Riders at (800) 252-8255.