CINCINNATI, Oh. –-Sept. 24, 2018— Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). AAA offers motorists ten ways to child-proof their vehicles to keep children safe during Child Passenger Safety Week (observed Sept. 23 – 29, 2018) and beyond:
Secure loose items – Things such as purses, briefcases, laptop computers, CDs and umbrellas can become unintentionally-flying objects in the event of a sudden stop or crash. An airborne ten-pound laptop bag can exert 300 pounds of force in a 30 mile per hour collision.
Use child locks – Be sure to engage child safety locks on vehicle doors to keep children from opening them while the vehicle is in motion.
Use the right safety restraint – Always use the safety restraint system appropriate for a child’s age, height and weight. There are four stages of safety restraint systems:
- Stage 1: Rear-facing child safety seat
- Stage 2: Forward-facing child safety seat
- Stage 3: Booster seat
- Stage 4: Lap and shoulder belts
- Assistance in identifying the correct safety restraint for a child based on age, height and weight is available at SafeSeats4Kids.AAA.com.
Install seat correctly – Three out of four child safety seats are improperly installed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When installing a safety seat, be sure to read the installation instructions thoroughly.
- When installing a child safety seat with LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren), be sure to buckle the unused seat belt prior to installing the safety seat to prevent possible strangulation. Do not install the seat using LATCH and the seat belt together.
Position away from air bags – Until age 13, all children should be seated in the backseat away from side-impact airbags. A child who is leaning or resting his or her head against the airbag when it is deployed could be seriously injured.
Entertain with soft toys – Hard toys can become dangerous projectiles during a sudden stop or crash. They also can be harmful to other vehicle occupants if thrown by the child while playing.
Secure unused safety seats – Booster seats and car seats should be buckled up when not in use to avoid becoming airborne during a sudden stop or crash. Unused LATCH and tether attachments from safety seats should also be secured.
Avoid non-regulated products – Do not use any non-regulated products, such as mirrors, window covers, harness covers or extra padding, that are not recommended by your child safety seat manufacturer. These products or add-on accessories may cause injury to children or other occupants during a crash.
Lock parked vehicles’ doors and trunks – To eliminate the risk of children climbing into a parked vehicle, keep doors, trunks and hatchbacks locked and keys out of reach. Children should be taught that vehicles are not a place to play.
Adult supervision – One of the best ways to child-proof a vehicle is to always have an adult on hand to supervise children who are in or around vehicles. Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle—with or without the engine running.
Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified technician at nhtsa.gov/carseat.
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.