Beyond the walls of our own home, another place we spend a lot of time is in our vehicles. Though we work hard to make everything in our home safe and orderly, do we make similar efforts to ensure the safety of those riding in our vehicle, such as insisting on proper seat belt, car seat, or booster seat use? Do we keep our vehicles clean and free of unrestrained objects (projectiles) that could readily harm us or our passengers in a crash?
As part of my job at Primary Children’s Medical Center, I oversee the safe transportation of patients leaving our hospital, and help families from the community with safe transportation needs. My staff of Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians spend a lot of time, effort, and resources educating families about safe transportation issues. We are exited for National Child Passenger Safety Week, which is September 16-22. This may not sound too exciting to you, but when you consider that more children die on America’s roadways than any other place, it is worthy of a closer look at our safety behaviors and habits.
It has been a long time since my own children have ridden in a car seat. My youngest child is now 24. But with grandchildren joining our family at a steady pace, I have the safety of several generations to consider.
Because of my professional involvement with injury prevention, I want to share a few insights with you. First, did you know that every day in 2010, an average of two children, ages 12 and younger, were killed? In that same year, 325 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes as occupants of passenger vehicles. For children 1 to 13, crashes are the leading cause of death. It is impossible to overstate the toll this takes on families. Together we can help put an end to this tragedy!
Research shows car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for children younger than one, and by 54 percent for children 1 to 4 years old in passenger cars. We know that car seats help save lives and reduce injuries. We also know that they are most effective when installed and used correctly. Starting today, we must work together to help others learn the safety behaviors needed to prevent these deaths and injuries.
That is why I am committed to working closely with our community and partners to help others make the kind of choices that will keep our kids alive and safe. I think that Child Passenger Safety Week should be observed EVERY WEEK! So, stop wondering if your child’s seats are being used correctly. Find out about LATCH and lock offs. Learn how to make your child’s car seat even safer by using the top tether. Discover when children should be allowed to ride in the front seat. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
Primary Children’s Medical Center, Safe Kids Utah, and the Utah Department of Public Safety will be hosting a free car seat check on Thursday, September 20, from 3-6 PM at Primary Children’s Outpatient Services at Riverton, 3773 West 12600 South, Riverton, Utah. Drop by and take advantage of this service! If you have questions about your child’s safety, give us a call on our Passenger Safety Hotline at Primary Children’s Medical Center, 801.662.2277, or visit us for a free car seat inspection on September 20th at our hospital in Riverton, Utah!