East Texas traffic safety specialist shares tips to keep kids safe in vehicles during National Child Passenger Safety Week
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -Nationwide, about 46% of all child car seats are misused according to a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, last year 72 children younger than eight years old died in traffic crashes in Texas; 16 of those were unrestrained at the time of their death.
Tyler Police Department trafficking supervisor Sergeant J. Burge says this is becoming a common issue.
“We’re seeing more and more and it’s like an upward trend.”
Under Texas law, children must be at least eight years old, or taller than 4 feet, 9 inches before they can transition out of child safety seats.
Heather Singleton, Traffic Safety Specialist for the Texas Department of Transportation Tyler District, explains the transition process for kids in car seats.
“You know from birth they should be in a rear-facing seat, then graduate to a forward-facing seat with harness, and then to a booster seat, so that’s kind of the law”
She explains that when picking a car seat for your child, height, weight and following manufacturer’s guidelines play a big role.
“So there’s a label on the side that talks about age, weights and height limits that are on the seat and so it talks about the size of the child that would be protected by using this seat”
For seats with a harness, it is advised to make sure straps are tight. On the other hand, when a child is in a booster or regular car seat it is best to not do any kind of seatbelt blocking, allowing kids to have the ability to move a little bit.
Singleton also advises parents to check car seat expiration dates, make sure seatbelt placement is making contact with shoulder and pelvic bones, and recommends that kids not sit in the front seat until they are at least 13 years old.
Free car seat checks are available year-round to families through TXDOT. You can schedule and inspection by visiting savemewithaseat.org and entering your zip code to find the nearest TXDOT traffic safety specialist in your area.
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