Since it’s Child Passenger Safety Week, Chris let me commandeer his email to help spread the word about one of my passions, keeping kids safe in cars.
If you’re not the parent or grandparent of a young child, you’re probably saying to yourself, “this doesn’t apply to me. I don’t need to read this. I can skip this one.” Before you move on to your next email, I ask that you please read on. You never know, this information could come in handy one day and even save a life.
Next month, my son will turn four (he’s the cute kid in the picture, and he also happens to be Chris and Lisa’s godson). Every day, I’m amazed at how much I didn’t know about raising a child. For most things, like getting him on a sleep schedule or figuring out the foods he should eat, there’s been a lot of trial and error along the way. But when it comes to car seats and car safety, I knew I had to try and get it right the first time. So, I’ve spent countless hours researching the best options for his age, how car seats should be installed, and how he should be properly restrained. After all, it could mean the difference between life or death.
Here’s a surprising statistic — somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 to 95 percent of car seats are installed or used incorrectly. And another fact – motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 14 years old or younger. Many of these deaths could have been prevented, since one in three of the children were not properly restrained.
All parents want to keep their children safe. That’s our job after all. When it comes to kids riding in cars, I’ve learned that many people simply don’t know what to do. With so many different types of seats and so much confusion about the law, it’s hard to get it right. I know that I’ve made my share of mistakes. That’s why highlighting child passenger safety is so important.
To make it a little easier, here are some quick and easy guidelines for picking the right restraint based on a child’s age:
Of course, choosing the right seat or booster seat or no seat is just part of it — child restraints must be used correctly every single time. So, next time you put a child in a car, make sure their car seat straps are tight (you shouldn’t be able to pinch more than ½ an inch), the seat belt or harness straps are in the right place, and the child is fully buckled in. And of course, kiddos under two should be rear-facing.
Still not sure you’re doing it right or just want a second opinion? There’s help out there. Click here to find car seat safety technician in your area. In Tarrant County, you can look no further than Cook Children’s Healthcare System, a leader on this issue.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this email, and I hope it’s been helpful. I just have one favor to ask – in celebration and recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week, if you know someone with a child, please take a moment and pass this message on. You never know whose life it could save.
Emily Amps Mora
Chief of Staff
Office of State Representative Chris Turner