IDOT, State Police, AAA and Evenflo Announce Seat Check Saturday as Part of National Child Passenger Safety Week

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                      Illinois Department of Transportation

                      (IDOT), State Police, AAA, Evenflo and St. John’s

                      Hospital today announced Seat Check Saturday and

                      called on all parents and caregivers to ensure

                      children are properly restrained in correctly

                      installed child safety seats when traveling on

                      Illinois roadways.  On Saturday, September 24, over

                      80 free child safety seat checks will take place in

                      Illinois providing parents with hands-on training

                      from 682 certified child passenger safety (CPS)

                      technicians. The press conference and seat checks are

                      part of Illinois’ strategic efforts to raise

                      awareness and boost safety during the National Child

                      Passenger Safety Week campaign.

                      “Protecting our loved ones through the proper

                      installation of child safety seats and parental

                      compliance is a major priority at IDOT, and is part

                      of our comprehensive traffic safety mission- to save

                      even more lives on Illinois roadways,” said Acting

                      Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

                      “Illinois’ certified child passenger safety

                      technicians equip parents and caregivers with the

                      knowledge they need to safely secure their child.  We

                      strongly encourage all interested residents to take

                      advantage and participate in Seat Check Saturday.”

                      According to the National Highway Traffic Safety

                      Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are a

                      leading cause of death for children under 12, because

                      three out of four child safety seats are used

                      incorrectly.  A major safety issue being addressed

                      this year is the importance of keeping children in

                      their safety seats up to the maximum upper

                      weight/height limits of the seat.  The new safety

                      recommendation is that infants and toddlers remain

                      rear-facing until age 2.

                      According to NHTSA, in passenger cars, child safety

                      seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent

                      for children younger than 1 in motor vehicle crashes

                      and by 54 percent for children 1 to 4.  In 2009

                      alone, 754 children 12 or younger were killed in

                      motor vehicle traffic crashes while riding in

                      passenger cars or light trucks.  Many tragedies could

                      have been prevented if the children were in the right

                      restraint for their age and size.

                      "Illinois has made great strides in keeping its

                      children safe on the roadways,” said Brad Roeber,

                      regional president of AAA Chicago. “But, as survey

                      data tells us, there are still some parents who need

                      assistance to ensure Illinois children are safely

                      buckled up.  We encourage these and all parents to

                      take advantage of Seat Check Saturday as AAA wants

                      the roads to be safe for its youngest travelers."

                      “It has been well documented that car seats, when

                      properly used and installed correctly, can save lives

                      and prevent injuries,” said Susan O’Connor, Patient

                      and Community Educator for The Birth Center at St.

                      John’s Hospital.  “The newest American Academy of

                      Pediatrics recommendations reinforce the need to use

                      the appropriate car seat for children (based on their

                      weight, height and age) for as long as possible

                      before graduating on to the next type of seat.

                      Parents who follow these guidelines can provide their

                      children with the best possible protection during a

                      crash.”

                      For maximum child passenger safety, parents and

                      caregivers should visit their local inspection

                      station to ensure their child’s safety seat is used

                      properly: Updated recommendations, provided below,

                      emphasize how important it is to keep children in

                      each restraint type for as long as possible before

                      moving them to the next type.

                      1.      Rear-facing seats: In the back seat from

                      birth to the height and weight limit of the seat.

                      Recommended up to 2 years old, but at a minimum age 1

                      and 20 pounds.

                      2.      Forward-facing seats: In the back seat when

                      the child has reached the height or weight limit of

                      the rear-facing seat to about age 4 and 40-65 pounds.

                      3.      Booster seats: In the back seat from about

                      age 4 to at least age 8.

                      4.      Safety belts: At age 8 and older and taller

                      than 4’9’’.

                      Note: All children younger than 13 should ride in the

                      back seat.

                      As of January 1, 2012, safety belts will be required

                      in all seating positions in all cars, light trucks

                      and vans.  It is illegal for anyone under the age of

                      18 to ride in the bed of a pick-up truck.

                      The annual National Child Passenger Safety Week

                      campaign, which runs this year from September 18-24,

                      focuses on increasing awareness of these issues and

                      provides parents and caregivers with resources and

                      information to better protect children from motor

                      vehicle crashes.  The activities will wrap-up on

                      Saturday, September 24 with the signature event--Seat

                      Check Saturday.

                      Hundreds of seat check events will be taking place at

                      locations across the country.  At each of these

                      events, child passenger safety technicians will

                      provide free hands-on child safety seat inspections

                      and offer advice and instruction to parents and

                      caregivers.  All Illinois events are sponsored by

                      AAA, Evenflo and the Illinois Department of

                      Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety

                      (IDOT/DTS).

                      For more information on seat guidelines, Child

                      Passenger Safety Week or to find a seat check

                      location near you, please visit

                      www.buckleupillinois.org.