Nearly half of all car seats used incorrectly
AUSTIN – Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children, and the TxDOT is issuing a call to action to parents and caregivers to ensure they are using and installing child car seats correctly.
While most people believe their children are properly buckled up, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out that 46% of all car seats are misused. As part of its annual “Save Me with a Seat” campaign, and in honor of National Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 15–21, 2019, TxDOT is encouraging parents and caregivers to sign up for a free child car seat check-up at any of its 25 district offices located throughout Texas.
TxDOT also will be hosting interactive events in eight Texas cities, featuring the use of an augmented reality experience created to educate parents on child seat safety.
“Proper use of car seats offers the best protection for children in the event of a crash,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We are making a concerted effort to make sure parents have their children securely buckled in the appropriate car seats, and that those seats are correctly installed.”
TxDOT’s free safety seat inspections are available throughout the year and take about 30 minutes. To schedule a seat check-up with a TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist, visit SaveMeWithaSeat.org and enter your ZIP code to find the nearest TxDOT district office. Drivers also can find out if a child should be in a rear-facing, forward-facing or booster seat, and get other child passenger safety tips by visiting the website.
Last year in Texas, 62 children younger than 8 years old died in traffic crashes; 16 were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Among children ages 8-12, 56 died in traffic crashes that same year; 21 were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
According to NHTSA, child car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers. TxDOT reminds drivers that Texas law requires all children under 8 – unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches – to be in a car seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250. Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat, properly secured in a seat belt or safety seat.
The “Save Me with a Seat” campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while on the road, such as going the speed limit, wearing a seat belt, never drinking and driving or texting and driving.November 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths.