Police throughout the area are encouraging parents to keep their children safe every time they get into the car by making sure they are in safety seats or properly buckled up with seat belts.
State Police Major Michael A. Kopy said local troopers will be participating in the National Child Passenger Safety Week that runs through Saturday in an ongoing effort to draw attention to the threats faced by child passengers in crashes.
Kopy said that in addition to enforcing the state’s safety belt laws through numerous checkpoints and daily patrols, local troopers will be vigilant in the enforcement of the proper restraint of children in vehicles. Child passenger safety experts recommend that expectant parents obtain and install a rear-facing child safety seat in their motor vehicle at least one month prior to the expected delivery date of their baby. Always read and follow the seat’s manufacturer’s instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual when installing the child safety seat.
“The best safety seat for your child is one that fits your child, your vehicle, and will be used correctly every time your child rides in the car,” said Kopy, noting that state law mandates that children are required to use a child safety restraint up to the age of 8 years old.
Kopy said motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of hospitalizations and hospital emergency department visits for children under 1 year of age in New York State. When properly installed and used, he said child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants riding in passenger cars.
“Rear-facing child safety seats provide infants protection at a stage when they are most vulnerable to injury,” Kopy said. “When a baby rides rear-facing, their head, neck and torso are cradled by the back of the safety seat reducing the risk of injury in a crash.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible, up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat for the best possible protection. At a minimum, infants should ride rear-facing in a semi-reclined position until they reach age 2 and weigh over 20 pounds.
“National Seat Check Saturday on September 22nd provides numerous car seat check events throughout the state. We encourage everyone to get their child safety seats checked by a certified technician to ensure that your children are being transported inside your vehicle in the safest manner possible,” urged Major Kopy.
For a list of certified CPS technicians, child safety seat fitting stations, and child safety seat check-up events in your area, visit www.safeny.ny.gov and click on Child Passenger Safety for Parents.