Hospital News

National Child Passenger Safety Week

During Child Passenger Safety Week, September 19 to 25, the pediatricians, family doctors and nurses of J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and the members of the Huntingdon County Safe Kids Chapter join the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to remind families to review their child’s safety in the family vehicle.

Sponsored by the Huntingdon County Safe Kids Chapter, the Pennsylvania State Police is offering a free car seat safety check on Tuesday, September 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Hoss’s Steak & Sea House, Rt 22 Huntingdon. Free car seat safety checks are offered the third Tuesday of every month from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Huntingdon State Police Barracks.

In addition, Juniata College Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Abbey Baird is available to consult with families about proper child restraints. Abbey may be reached by calling 641-3365 or by emailing bairda@juniata.edu.

The theme for Child Passenger Safety Week 2010, “Back to Basics - Safe from the Start” reminds parents and caregivers that as children go back to school, it is a good time to evaluate the safety of all children traveling in vehicles. Going back to the basics of buckling up every one, every time will ensure the safety of Pennsylvania families. Buckling up is a habit that should start from birth and follow through adulthood.

On an average day in Pennsylvania, there are about 350 crashes on state highways. It is a fact that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 21, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Correctly buckling up in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt is the single most effective way to protect motor vehicle occupants and to reduce fatalities in a crash.

It’s time to get Back to Basics and make sure everyone is buckled up from the start of every trip.

To help families understand what needs to be done to protect children, here are some key safety points that will help them get Back to Basics.

• Restrain all adults and children on every trip, every time. Parents who buckle up set the examples and teach children to buckle up. More than 121,000 crashes occurred in Pennsylvania in 2009. According to PennDOT, 1,256 people were killed and 451 of the victims were not wearing seat belts at the time of their crashes.

• Keep your child in a back seat. Children are 38 percent less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a back seat (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Partners for Child Passenger Safety).

• Use child safety seats and seat belts correctly. There is still a high misuse rate of child safety seats and booster seats. Last year at PennDOT-funded car seat inspection stations, more than eight out of every ten child safety seats checked were being used improperly. Child Passenger Safety Week offers an excellent opportunity to have child safety seats and booster seats inspected to make sure they are being used correctly to maximize safety.

• Use the best safety restraint for your child’s size. Take into account a child’s age, weight, height, physical development and behavior needs when selecting a seat. NHTSA’s four steps listed below are a good way to help decide which type of child safety seat is best for your child.

1. Infants ride rear-facing in infant car seats/rear-facing convertible car seats until they weigh at least 20 pounds AND are at least one year of age. For optimal protection, use a rear-facing car seat until the child reaches the maximum weight and/or height allowed by the manufacturer.
2. Forward-facing toddler seats from a minimum of age one and at least 20 pounds to around age four and at least 40 pounds.
3. Booster seats from about four years old and at least 40 pounds to age eight, unless 4’9”.
4. Lap and shoulder safety belts at age eight or older and 4’9” tall when the vehicle seat belt fits correctly. Children under 13 should ride in the back seat of the vehicle.

Under Pennsylvania’s child passenger safety law, all drivers are responsible for securing children in the appropriate child restraint system. All children from birth up to age four must be secured in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle. All children age four up to age eight must be secured in a seat belt system and appropriate child booster seat anywhere in the vehicle. All children age eight up to age 18 must be secured in a seat belt system anywhere in the vehicle. Under Pennsylvania’s seat belt law, all drivers are responsible for the front seat occupants to wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt system. All drivers under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle in which the number of passengers exceeds the number of available safety belts in the vehicle.

If you are unable to afford a car seat, call 1-800-CAR-BELT or visit www.pakidstravelsafe.org to find the nearest car seat loan program, child safety seat inspection station or car seat check up event.

For more information about child passenger safety, call 1-800-CAR-BELT or visit the website www.pakidstravelsafe.org.

For a listing of upcoming free child safety seat inspections, visit www.jcblair.org


###