KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Could your child be at risk the next time you hit the road? According to the Missouri Coalition of Roadway Safety nearly 30-percent of children in our area are not restrained properly, and their parents have no idea.
During National Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 17 – 23rd) national and local agencies are pushing for more education on proper car seat, booster seat and seat belt safety practices.
Kansas City’s Safety and Health Council works to help families in the metro area learn best practices for restraining kids while on the road. On average the organization helps roughly 300 families each year learn to install car seats and booster seats properly.
“You always need to make sure that you`re using the correct belt path, and that you`ve got it secured in and that it`s tight and snug and not moving more than one inch side to side, and that we`ve attached a top tether,” said Kathy Zents, Executive Director of the Safety & Health Council.
Once the seat itself is in, it`s time to buckle in your precious cargo.
“There’s three points on the harness system, in the harness system you want to make sure that these straps need to be at or below the baby’s shoulder. Also snug against the babies chest so you can not pinch the straps, if you pinch it it`s too loose,” Zents explained.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 30-percent of kids that die in car crashes are not buckled up or are not using a car seat. Using a car seat reduces infant fatalities by 71-percent, for toddlers it’s 54-percent.
“I would encourage everybody to reach out, and not just the parent, but even the grandparent. We have families that will call us and say their grandchildren are coming in town, can they come by and make sure the car seat that they`re using for them is properly installed,” Zents adds.
Many organizations in the metro area offer free car seat safety checks. See the list below for a few of many places to go for help:
Safety & Health Council http://www.shcmoks.com/
Saint Luke’s https://www.saintlukeshealthsystem.org/services/car-seat-safety-checks
North Kansas City Fire Department http://www.nkc.org/departments/fire/car_seat_installation
You can locate other car seat safety check stations by visiting https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats