CHICAGO — In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week, the Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding parents and caregivers that state law requires children to ride in a child safety seat until age 8 and rear-facing until age 2. Proper restraint in a car or booster seat is the best way to protect a child from serious injury or death in the event of a crash.
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“When it comes to keeping your child safe in a vehicle, you can never be too careful,” said Cynthia Watters, bureau chief of Safety Programs and Engineering. “Many child safety seats are not installed correctly. This week, parents and caregivers have a special opportunity to have their child’s car or booster seat checked by a certified technician to ensure that it’s installed and fitted properly. We encourage everyone to take advantage of this free service.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors Child Passenger Safety Week to ensure children are in the right seat installed correctly. Guidelines include choosing the proper safety seat based on the child’s height and weight, properly installing and using the seat, and registering the seat with the manufacturer to ensure receipt of important safety updates such as product recalls.
This year’s week runs Sept. 20 to 26.
According to NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children 12 and younger. From 2014-2018, a total of 3,315 children nationwide were killed while riding in cars, pickups, vans and SUVs. While fatalities decreased by 7% from 2017 to 2018, there is still more work to be done to eliminate these preventable tragedies.
In Illinois, children must be restrained in an appropriate car or booster seat until age 8 and in a rear-facing seat until age 2. NHTSA recommends that children stay restrained in their car seats until they outgrow the height and weight limit set by the seat’s manufacturer. This often means keeping children in rear-facing seats beyond age 2 and boosters far beyond age 8.
For more information on car seat safety or to locate a certified technician, visit nhtsa.gov/therightseat. If you’d like to learn more about IDOT’s Child Passenger Safety program, see buckleupillinois.org.
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