• Sep 25th 2010 at 2:01PM
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Recaro ProSeries child safety seats – Click above for high-res image gallery

U.S. Transportation Secretary and friend of Autoblog, Ray LaHood, is sharing new research garnered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The results of the study show that many young children are still being placed in the wrong restraint or booster seat systems. It's Child Passenger Safety week and it's time for parents to make sure they know what type of system their kid requires. Also, it's important to be certain their safety seats are inspected to insure they're working properly.

NHTSA data shows that in 2009 the leading cause of death for young people (ages 3-14) was motor vehicle accidents. Child Passenger Safety week runs from September 19th through the 25th, during which NHTSA has set up safety seat inspection stations around the country. The service is free and safety technicians are on hand to answer any questions you might have. The safety week ends on the 25th (that'd be today) with National Seat Check Saturday, and it won't take much time for you to stop by. For the nearest location, check out http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS.

There are more numbers to look at for all you stat fiends, in the press release after the jump.

[Source: U.S. Department of Transportation]
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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Unveils New Data and Urges Parents to Install Proper Safety Seats During Child Passenger Safety Week
  • Motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death for people ages 3-14, in 2009.
  • Child Passenger Safety Week runs from September 19th through the 25th.
  • Free seat safety inspection stations are setup throughout the country.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today unveiled new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research showing that while fewer children died in roadway crashes in 2009, many children are still not using an appropriate child restraint or booster seat. Secretary LaHood announced the findings today as part of Child Passenger Safety Week.

NHTSA's 2009 child fatality data found that, last year, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for young people ages 3 to 14. In 2009, an average of four children age 14 and younger were killed and 490 were injured every day.

"Make no mistake about it: child safety seats save lives," said Secretary LaHood. "Children who graduate too soon from their safety seats are at risk of serious injury. Parents and caregivers should ensure that safety seats are installed correctly and should always use them. Their children depend on it."

During Child Passenger Safety Week, September 19 to 25, parents and caregivers are encouraged to have their child safety seats checked at one of the thousands of free safety seat inspection stations set up across the country. The week-long effort culminates in National Seat Check Saturday on September 25, during which English- and Spanish-speaking child passenger safety technicians will be available to answer questions and provide help with child safety seat installation.

"We're urging everyone to get their children's safety seats inspected to make sure their kids are properly protected on every trip, every time. When it comes to child passenger safety, there is absolutely no room for error," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

After children outgrow their forward-facing seats, usually around age 4 and 40 pounds, they should ride in booster seats until the seat belts in the vehicle fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest, usually at age 8 or when a child is 4'9" tall.

A new NHTSA survey on booster seat use found that just 41 percent of 4- to 7-year-old children ride in booster seats, virtually unchanged from the prior year.

Restraint use for children age 1 to 3 years increased from 92 percent in 2008 to 96 percent in 2009, while restraint use for all children under age 13 remained unchanged at 89 percent.

Other NHTSA research on the effects of early graduation from child safety seats to booster seats for children ages 3 to 4 found a significantly lower injury risk for the children in safety seats than for those in booster seats. Staying in a booster seat rather than an early graduation to adult belts for child passengers age 4 to 8 likewise resulted in significantly fewer injuries.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws requiring the use of safety seats for young children traveling in automobiles. Also, 47 states have laws requiring booster seat use.

To view NHTSA's new national survey, click here

To view the new 2009 children fatality statistics, click here

To find a child safety seat inspection site near you, click here

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I dunno, I am not a father (yet) but I gotta say, looking at that thing, I think I would be very hesitant to put my teenager in one of those. Baby seats are important, but everyone has their own personal line that divides saftey precautions from paranoid overkill. I think a special car seat for a 13yo falls on the overkill side of that line for me. If you feel it's important to keep your child in one of these, then by all means do, but I don't think that's something that should be forced upon all families.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And once upon a time, seat belts were seen as optional. Eventually, people will figure this out. Sadly, unlike seat belt use, which has a Darwinian component (people that don't use them take themselves out of the pool at a higher rate than those who do), the users of child safety seats and boosters aren't in charge of their own destiny.

      And, Joe_Smaltz, check your facts before you make utterly idiotic comments. Every state has rules on child seat use that roughly mimic these recommendations already. Check http://www.iihs.org/laws/ChildRestraint.aspx

      That said, it makes a lot of sense to me to standardize on a national standard. There's no compelling argument to be made why one state NEEDS a different set of rules. On the other hand, the lack of a single standard makes communication and education needlessly difficult and complex. It also creates the opportunity for situations where a child that's legally restrained one minute in, say, South Dakota, drives across the border into North Dakota and, suddenly, they're in violation of the law. Asinine, I say. Make it one national standard and move on.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just sad. You think there would be common sense anymore, but nope, not in good ole 'Merica.

      I'm not a father (yet), but I will be very strict about my children's safety (I'm such a worrier and a protector) with stuff like this.

      Granted I grew up fairly old-fashioned (fyi I'm 19), but my family did right for me with my protection, so I plan the same way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Just sad. You think there would be common sense anymore, but nope, not in good ole 'Merica. "

        I don't see what "good ole 'Merica" has to do with it. Look, people are creatures of habit. Most people my age (early 30s) or older grew up being carted around in cars without booster seats, and many of these cars didn't even have shoulder belts back then. The default mindset is "we didn't have any of that and we were fine, so what's the big deal?" because- duh- if they're here, they weren't ever injured or killed in an accident that booster seats would have helped, and most likely don't know anyone who was either.

        It's a *human* problem, not a "'Merican" problem.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't see an issue with "common sense," only an issue with parents not having the knowledge of what kind of seats their kids should be in and at what ages.

        There's also the issue of finances; but I'm of the opinion that you need to reconsider the choice to have kids if you can't really afford them. However, I know I'll catch lots of flak for that opinion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't believe my parents used a booster seat either. I remember a baby seat, but don't remember any booster seats. I'm not as young as you are, but not too much older. Were boosters as popular back then as they are now? I feel like it is something that only really took off in the past decade or so.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Paul, you won't get any flak from me.

        However, for those that can't afford a car seat, there are organizations that can help
        • 5 Years Ago

        No. I don't think you'll catch flak, I have and probably will as long as this post is viewed. :) However I myself have seen a lot of quick commercials and little pamphlets at hospitals and places talking about booster seats and junk.

        Granted, to add (and correct) my statement, I wasn't really put in a booster seat. I don't think the need for them is as great as say, the seat for the baby, but I have seen many parents not even use them for babies, which I hate seeing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If all else fails, just bubble wrap your kids! I mean who can argue with that!

        *disclaimer: be sure to poke a hole with sharp object in the location of your child's face for breathing purposes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I know times are tough and these things are expensive, but c'mon parents! Be smart!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Steven D Levitt may have something to say about that, given the evidence that seat belts are equally effective as a properly installed booster seat: http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/car-seats/
        • 5 Years Ago
        the problem stems from shoulder belts that don't have enough adjustability to properly fit a smaller child. If the lowest click on the shoulder belt tether still has the belt up near the kid's neck, there's going to be a problem.
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