Network Of Safety Seat Inspections Sites Protect Child Passengers
Parents and caregivers are now required by law to secure their children properly while riding in a vehicle, at least until the child's eighth birthday.
To help parents adjust to the upcoming mandates, health officials are reaching out to parents to educate them about the type of safety restraints necessary for each stage of childhood, from infancy to elementary school age.
Four out of five children under age 8 in Virginia are riding in safety seats that are improperly installed. To help reduce the threat this poses and increase the number of properly installed seats, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has developed a network of inspection sites across Virginia where certified technicians will inspect safety seats for free and teach parents how to install and use them correctly.
"Of the fourteen deaths to child passengers under age 6 in Virginia in 2006, 5 were riding in improperly installed safety seats and 7 were not secured at all," said State Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube, M.D., M.P.H. "We hope the availability of the local inspection sites will encourage parents and caregivers to find the site nearest them and have their child's safety seat inspected."
A recent study by Safe Kids Worldwide reports that properly installed and correctly used safety seats decrease the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. The report also found that parents retained their safety seat installation knowledge six weeks after receiving hands-on instruction at a safety seat clinic, and that 45 percent more seats were installed properly at a second safety check clinic than at the first.
As children grow, their requirements in safety seats change. To help keep kids safe, VDH injury prevention experts offer parents the following tips: