“It’s the responsibility of every single parent and caregiver out there to make sure their children are safely restrained – every trip, every time,” said Altus Fire Chief J.R. Wheeler. “We are urging everyone to get their child safety seats inspected. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, 8,959 lives have been saved from 1975 to 2008 by the proper use of child restraints. In 2008, among children under age 5 in passenger vehicles, an estimated 244 lives were saved by child restraint use (child safety seats and adult seat belts). Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8.
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. For the best possible protection keep 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. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), 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 at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall).
4. When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall) 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 chest).
Remember: All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
For more information contact Altus Fire/Rescue Department at 481.2232.