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OST 139-09
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Contact: Karen Aldana
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Launches Child Passenger Safety Week

Urges Parents to Learn How to Correctly Install Safety Seats

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today kicked off Child Passenger Safety Week as new research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that while there is a high use of child safety seats nationwide, a majority of children are not properly secured.

“Every year hundreds of young lives are lost to automobile crashes,” Secretary LaHood said. “Parents and caregivers need to make sure they learn how to properly install child safety seats so their kids will be safe whenever they’re on the road.”

During Child Passenger Safety Week (September 12-18) parents and caregivers can get their child safety seats checked at one of the thousands of free safety seat inspection stations set up across the country. Beginning with National Seat Check Saturday, September 12, English- and Spanish-speaking child passenger safety technicians will be on hand to answer questions and for help with proper installation of child safety seats. To find an inspection site near you, click here.

NHTSA’s research shows child safety seat use is at an all-time high for children under the age of one. Last year, 99 percent of children ages 0-12 months old were secured as were 92 percent of children ages 1-3 years old and 89 percent of 4-7 years-olds. To view new research click here.

Unfortunately, research also indicated that three out of every four seats are used incorrectly. This figure includes errors in securing the child in the child seat and errors in attaching the child seat to the car. Some specific examples include using the wrong child restraint based on age and weight; incorrect installation of restraint to the vehicle seat; harness straps buckled too loosely; incorrect attachment of the vehicle safety belt to the child restraint and loose fit of seat belts across children in belt-positioning booster seats.

All 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and our territories, have laws requiring the use of safety seats for young children traveling in automobiles. In addition, 47 States have laws requiring booster seat use.