Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Opinion: Buckle up those kids

February 15, 2006

This week, Feb. 12-18, is Child Passenger Safety Week, so it's a good time to remind parents and caregivers to make certain the youngsters in their care are properly buckled up.

This is serious business. Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among children aged 1 to 17.

During this week, more than 200 Child Passenger Safety Week events are planned across the state. Technicians will teach parents and caregivers to install and adjust car seats properly and to determine when older children are ready to graduate from booster seats to adult safety belts.

Safety officials at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment say that use of booster seats especially needs to be encouraged.

In Kansas, infants and toddlers ride in safety restraints 81 percent of the time, but children 4-7 ride in safety restraints only 49 percent of the time.

The health officials are alarmed at this statistic, which they say shows that many are unaware of the importance of booster seats.

Children who have outgrown car seats -- usually about 40 pounds -- are safer and more comfortable on a booster seat until they are 4'9" tall and weigh 80 pounds. The booster seat positions the adult safety belt correctly and allows the child to see out the window.

During this special week, Safe Kids Worldwide is unveiling a Parent Toolkit to help educate children, carpool members and other caregivers about the importance of booster seats. Parents and others who wish to find a technician may call 800-332-6262, or visit the organization's Web site, www.usa.safekids.org.

Buckle up those kids.

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