Child safety seat check scheduled for Saturday
AAA is teaming up with SafeKids on Saturday, April 30, to conduct free child safety seat inspections at the AAA office located at 2900 “O” Street in Lincoln. Free inspections are available from 9:00 am until noon. With each inspection taking approximately 30-minutes, parents should call 402-441-8045 to schedule an appointment.
Since trained child safety seat inspectors will confirm that all straps are adjusted to properly fit the child, parents are required to bring the child and car seat to the event. Technicians will also check the model number of each seat to determine if any safety recalls have been issued for that particular unit. Parents should also bring the vehicle owner's manual and the car seat manual.
Although the installation and use of child safety seats may appear to be easy, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 3 out of 4 parents do no properly use child restraints. If the child safety seat is not installed correctly, or the straps not adjusted appropriately, the level of protection provided by the seat may be compromised. For that reason, AAA encourages all parents to participate in an inspection event.
“Nebraska has made great strides in keeping its children safe on the roadways,” stated Marilyn Muir, manager of AAA's Lincoln branch facility. “In 1999, child safety seat use in Nebraska averaged only 56 percent. Today, observance studies conducted by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety show that child safety seat use has climbed to more than 95 percent, however, the survey does not determine if the seats used are installed correctly. While that 5 percent is a small number, it's the most dangerous form of misuse there is—using no child restraint at all. It is also frightening to think that of the 95 percent observed using a seat, there is only a 6 percent chance that the seat is installed correctly. Nebraska Safe Kids data demonstrates a consistent 94 percent misuse at nearly every event,” stated Muir.
Nebraska's law requires all children up to age 6 to ride correctly secured in a federally approved child safety seat. The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety reports that last year, more than 1,600 drivers were convicted of failure to use a child safety seat. Nebraska's child passenger safety law is primary and a violation carries a $25 fine plus courts costs and 1 point assessed against the operator's driving record. Primary enforcement means that a person driving in Nebraska can be stopped and ticketed solely for this violation.
AAA, SafeKids, and the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety provide these tips for transporting children safely:
►Read and follow the manufacturer's guidelines to your child safety seat and the vehicle owner's manual.
►CHECK that the harness is snug. . A snug strap should not allow any slack. It lies in a straight line with no twisting in the harness without sagging. It does not press on the child's flesh or push the child's body into an unnatural position.
►The harness retainer clip should be located at arm pit level.
►The seat should be installed tight. There should be no more than one inch of movement side to side at the restraint system's belt path. The owners manual to your vehicle will help you learn how to lock down your seatbelt and keep it tight.
►Children are 5 times safer riding rear facing. No child should be faced forward before they reach the minimum recommendation of one year of age and 20 pounds. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear facing as long as your child restraint will allow. Some infant seats and all convertible car seats face the rear and have weight limits of 30-40 pounds. If you want maximum protection for your child, rear face all the way to that 30-40 pound limit.
►Never place any rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger side air bag for even a moment.
►If a forward-facing child safety seat is placed in an air bag equipped seating position, slide the vehicle seat as far back as possible, out of the air bag's path.
►Older children, up to 8 years old and 80 pounds should ride in booster seats.
►Children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat, the safest place.
Parents interested in learning more about safety seat checks available across Nebraska should log on to www.safekidsnebraska.org and click on the Event Calendar.