AgriLife Extension asking Texans to participate in national Child Passenger Safety Week
Family and consumer science experts with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are urging Texans to participate in the nationwide Child Passenger Safety Week, now through September 21. .
“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are among the main causes of death for children,” said Bev Kellner, AgriLife Extension coordinator for the agency’s Passenger Safety Project, College Station. “In many instances, injuries and deaths can be prevented by the proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts.”
Traffic safety administration and U.S. Department of Transportation data from 2011 show that an average of about two children under 13 years old were killed and 338 were injured each day while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans.
Kellner said during Child Passenger Safety Week many communities will make certified child passenger safety technicians available to provide free, hands-on, car seat inspection, instruction and education. The week typically concludes with National Seat Check Saturday, which this year is Sept. 21, when certified technicians offer their services at child passenger safety events across the country.
“Properly installed car seats, including boosters, afford the best protection for children traveling in vehicles,” Kellner said. “Throughout the week of Sept. 15-21, AgriLife Extension will be having child safety seat inspections checks and educational activities throughout Texas during the week, culminating with a child safety seat inspection to be held Saturday morning, Sept. 21, at the Brazos Center in Bryan.”
Through its Passenger Safety Project, AgriLife Extension, in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation, provides valuable traffic safety information and education to people throughout Texas, Kellner said.
“While the project’s overall goal is to reduce motor vehicle fatalities and injuries and their associated costs, the project’s primary focus is on increasing child restraint and safety belt usage,” she said. “That’s why all of our team members are certified child safety seat technicians and/or instructors.”
Kellner said the project also conducts the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s standardized child passenger safety certification trainings, which provides the opportunity for other individuals to become certified as child passenger safety technicians.
“Mainly what we want to get across to the public through these efforts is that child passenger protection works best when used properly.”
Kellner said traffic safety administration data shows that almost 10,000 children age four and under from 1975 to 2011 were saved by child restraints of one kind or another. The data also shows 8,616 of these children were saved by car seats alone.
She said failure to read and adequately follow child safety seat installation instructions and seat belt use instruction in a vehicle owners’ manual can inadvertently expose a child passenger to a greater than necessary risk of serious injury or death in a crash.
“Many people just need a little hands-on guidance and advice on the proper child safety seat for their child and how to properly install and use that restraint to its greatest safety benefit,” Kellner said.
For more information on child passenger safety and AgriLife Extension’s Passenger Safety Project, contact Kellner at 979-845-3850 or go to http://fcs.tamu.edu/safety/passenger_safety/. To find a certified technician in your area go to http://buckleup.tamu.edu.
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