Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Safe Kids Tulsa Area, Choctaw Nation Injury Prevention offers car seat inspections

Safe Kids Tulsa Area urges parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed in their vehicles. Choctaw Nation Injury Prevention Coordinator, Cassandra Herring will have certified child passenger safety technicians available to provide hands-on instruction on installing car seats and booster seats at Tribal Services Building in Hugo at 403 Chahta Circle, from 2-4 pm, Nov. 20, 2013.

“It’s the responsibility of every parent and caregiver to make sure their children are safely restrained – every trip, every time and at every age,” said Beth Washington. “We are urging everyone to have their child checked to be sure they are using the right restraint—a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes.”

According to a 2008 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of child restraints declines as children get older. From birth to 12 months, 99 percent of children ride in a restraint. It drops to 92 percent for kids ages 1 to 3. For children ages 4 to 7, 89 percent are restrained. But only 85 percent of kids ages 8 to 12 ride in a restraint.

“Parents need to set the rules and stay vigilant,” said Washington. “Booster seats and seat belts are just as important for older kids as car seats are for younger kids.”

According to Washington, parents and caregivers should follow a few basic guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect their children in a vehicle:

  1. For the best possible protection keep infants in a back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible—up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. Never turn a child forward-facing before age 1 and at least 20 pounds. Keeping kids rear-facing until age 2 is safer and preferred if the seat allows.
  2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats in a back seat until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular harnessed seat. Many newer seats exceed the old 40 pound weight limit.
  3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride on booster seats in a back seat until the vehicle seat belts fit properly.
  4. Seat belts fit properly when the child can pass the Safety Belt Fit Test: the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, the shoulder belt rests on the shoulder or collar bone and the knees bend naturally at the seat’s edge (usually when the child is between 8 and 12 years old, approximately 4’9” tall and 80 to 100 pounds).
  5. After children fully outgrow their booster seats, they should use the adult seat belts in a back seat. The lap belt should lie across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt rests on the shoulder or collar bone.

Safe Kids Tulsa Area works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Tulsa Area is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Tulsa Area was founded in 1993 and is led by The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis.