The North Country Child Safety Coalition is urging parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed.
The advocates, from local and state police, rescue, fire and safety agencies, will have child safety seat checks during Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19 to 25.
Checks will be offered Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Massena Fire Department, 34 Andrews St., 1 to 3 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 25, Gouverneur Volunteer Rescue Squad, 1024 U.S. Rt. 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Both sites will have nationally certified technicians for free assistance and advice. Parents are urged to bring the child safety seat and vehicle owner’s manuals with them, if possible.
“When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes,” said Mary Davison, traffic safety specialist for the St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program.
Davison says that national and local statistics show that more than four out of five car seats are not used correctly, even though proper use is critical to preventing injuries and deaths.
“We are urging everyone to take advantage of these learning opportunities, either at one of our events during Child Passenger Safety Week, or at one of our community fitting stations throughout the year.”
For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers can visit their local inspection stations and refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines that determine which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
1. Keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, for as long as possible, up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. Parents are advised to keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds, but there are safety benefits for keeping children in rear-facing child safety seats up to age two. Many convertible child safety seats have higher weight limits allowing children to ride rear-facing for a longer period of time.
2. Use a forward-facing seat with a harness as long as possible until a child is too tall or too heavy for the seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds). Many forward-facing child safety seats have weight limits which exceed 40 pounds. Child safety seats with higher weight limits accommodate the needs of heavier children and allow parents to use child safety seats longer before switching to a belt positioning booster seat.
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually the child is 4’9” or taller).
4. When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the mid-chest).
New York State law requires children under the age of eight to be properly restrained in a federally approved child safety restraint system.
More information on New York State’s Occupant Restraint Law, as well as contact numbers for local fitting stations and Child Passenger Safety Technicians, can be found by calling the St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program at 379-2306 or on-line at www.safeny.com.