Get Seats Checked Free during National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 14-20

Hamilton, NJ, (Friday, September 12, 2014) – In today’s highly mobile society, children travel more than ever. Sadly, this mobility comes at a staggering price. Each year, more than 800 kids die and 190,000 are injured in car crashes – enough to rank motor vehicle crashes as a leading cause of death and injury for children in the U.S. Tragically, many of these deaths could have been prevented.

Child safety seats, or car seats, reduce the risk of injury by 71% to 82% and reduce the risk of death by 28% in comparison to children in seat belts alone. Booster seats reduce the risk of nonfatal injuries by 45% among 4 to 8 year olds.

“While significant strides have been made to make car seats easier to use, it’s still challenging, due to the many different designs of car seats and vehicles,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA reminds parents to protect their most precious cargo by attending a free child seat safety check event where you will be shown how to install the seat correctly.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 3 out of 4 car seats are incorrectly installed.

To help ensure children are safe in the event of a crash, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges parents to guard against these car set and booster seat mistakes:

Top Car Seat Mistakes

Not installing the car seat tightly enough.
Recommendation: The car seat should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch when tested at the belt path.
Harness straps too loose.
Recommendation: Harness straps should lay flat and not have any twists. Be sure the harness is snug enough that you cannot pinch any extra material at the child’s shoulder

Retainer clip (or chest clip) is too low.
Recommendation: Place the retainer clip at armpit level.
Turning your child forward facing too soon.
Recommendation: A child should remain in a rear-facing seat as long as possible until they reach the upper weight or height limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Once your child outgrows a rear-facing infant seat, switch to a rear-facing convertible car seat with higher height and weight limits.
Allowing a child under the age of 13 to ride in the front seat.
Recommendation: All children under age 13 should be properly restrained in the back seat.
Installing a car seat using both LATCH AND a seat belt.
Recommendation: In this case, two is not better than one. Install the car seat in approved seating positions with LATCH OR the seat belt. Do not use more than one system unless the car seat manufacturer and vehicle manufacturer permit it.
Wearing bulky coats/sweaters while buckled into a car seat.
Recommendation: Place blankets or jackets over the child after the harness is snug and secure.

Top Booster Seat Mistakes

Moving your child out of a booster seat too soon.

Recommendation: Keep your children in booster seats until the seat belt fits them properly. Children should be able to sit with their back against the seat, knees bending at the edge of the seat and feet touching the floor. The lap belt should be positioned low across their hips and upper thighs with the shoulder belt across their chest and collarbone. Depending on your child’s growth and development, a seat belt typically fits correctly between ages 8 – 12.

Allowing children to place the seat belt under their arm or behind their back when using a booster seat.

What AAA recommends: Make sure children wear their seat belt properly with their booster seat and remain in proper position the whole trip.
Skipping a booster seat when carpooling or riding with friends

What AAA recommends: Don’t compromise safety for convenience. Use a booster on every trip and make arrangements in advance when carpooling to ensure your child has their booster seat.

Using a low back booster in a seat without head rests.

What AAA recommends: Make sure your vehicle has head rest to protect your child before considering using a backless booster seat. If not, use a high back seat that offers head/neck protection.

Letting your child use a regular seat belt too soon.
What AAA recommends: Use a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits properly with the lap portion of the belt fitting low across the child’s hips and the shoulder belt across their sternum and collar bone. Proper belt fit may not be possible in some cases until age 12 or 13.

Not buckling in empty booster seats.
What AAA recommends: Buckle up booster seats even when children are not riding in the car to keep yourself and other passengers safe.

There are several child passenger safety car seat inspection services available for free during Child Passenger Safety Week and during other times throughout the year. (see list below). And any time of the year, visit www.seatcheck.org to find a local event (anywhere in U.S).

For more information about car seat safety, including additional common mistakes, visit SafeSeats4Kids.AAA.com.

National Child Passenger

Safety Week September 14 - 20, 2014 •

September 20th Fairfield Police 632 Rt. 46 East, Fairfield September 20th Babies R US 98 Rt. 10, East Hanover

September 20th Walgreens Shopping Center Jersey and Handy Streets, New Brunswick

Burlington County

Burlington County Sheriff’s Department
49 Rancocas Road (side parking lot), MtHolly
Hours: 10am - 2pm, Wednesdays
For more information call:609-265-5221

Middlesex County

Middlesex County Child Safety Seat Station on the Rutgers University Campus
129 Davidson Rd., Piscataway, NJ
Hours: Thursdays 3 - 7 pm

For more information call: 732-932-1368

Mercer County

Mercer County Sheriff's Office
Child Passenger Safety Check
Colonial Fire Co., 810 Kuser Rd., Hamilton
Hours: 4:30pm - 8pm, last Tuesday each month*
*Not Available in December
For more information call: 609-278-7159

Princeton Healthcare System
Weekdays - seat check/education by appointment only
For more information and appointments: 888-897-8979

Monmouth County

New Jersey State Police
Child Passenger Safety Station
Jersey Shore University Medical Center
1945 NJ Route 33, Neptune
Hours: 3pm - 7pm, 1st Tuesday each month

Ocean County

Ocean County & Manchester Twp. Police Partnership
Child Passenger Safety Station
Ridgeway Fire Department
Route 571 Manchester, NJ 08759
Hours: 4pm - 8pm, 1st Wed. of each month

Ocean County & Tom’s River Twp. Police Partnership Child Passenger Safety Station
Silverton Firehouse -15 Kettle Creek Road, Toms River
Hours: 3pm - 6pm, 2nd & 4th Wed. each month

Ocean County Sheriff’s Department
Child Passenger Safety Instruction - by appointment
For more information and appointments: 732-341-3451