Manager, Public & Government Affairs
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C: (405) 488-7611
Senior Specialist, Public & Government Affairs
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C: (918) 935-9318
September 22, 2020 –– Every day in Oklahoma, too many children ride without seat belts or in car seats that don’t fit them or have been installed incorrectly. During National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20-26, AAA Oklahoma urges all transporting children to be sure they are in the proper child seat or booster for their age and size, avoid common mistakes, and seek expert assistance with car seat installation.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. An estimated 59% of car seats and 20% of booster seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness. Even worse, some children ride while completely unbuckled.
In 2019, 15 children died in Oklahoma and 63 were seriously injured in crashes, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO). A survey at 100 sites statewide last year by the University of Central Oklahoma showed nearly 10% of children were unrestrained while riding in passenger vehicles. Those most likely to be without proper protection were riding in pick-up trucks as well as those riding in the front seats of vehicles. When a driver of a vehicle was not wearing a seat belt, children were less likely to be adequately protected.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement on "Child Passenger Safety" advises parents to keep their children's car seats in the rear-facing position for as long as possible. Previously, the AAP recommended rear-facing car seats up until the age of two. Booster seats are to be used until age 8 with the vehicles seat belts protecting older children whether riding in the back seat or front seat.
“Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma Public and Government Affairs Manager. “Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is essential to keep your children safe. Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference.”
Car seat checks and education events are offered by Safe Kids Oklahoma. Visit Safe Kids’ Oklahoma’s Facebook page or call (405) 470-2304.
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