In September 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is promoting two events to help keep our youngest car passengers safe. September 13–19 is Child Passenger Safety Week, and September 19 is National Seat Check Saturday.

Why Are These Events on the Calendar?

Use Child Passenger Safety Week to make sure your kids are properly secured in the car.Car accidents are a leading cause of death for children in the United States. In 2014, 15 children under the age of 16 were killed in Kentucky motor vehicle crashes. In an effort to reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities, the government is promoting car seat safety awareness and encouraging parents to comply with car seat recommendations and laws.

How to Keep Your Child—and Other Children—Safe

Car seats don’t prevent accidents, but they can save lives. Thus, as a parent, you should be aware of the four stages of child passenger safety from birth to age 13:

  • Rear-facing car seats: At a minimum, a child should be rear-facing until the child is one year old and 20 pounds, but it is recommended that the child remain rear-facing until the child is two years old and 30 pounds.
  • Forward-facing car seats: Once a child is too big for a rear-facing car seat then a forward-facing car seat should be used. It is recommended that children remain in forward-facing car seats until they are at least forty inches tall and reach the maximum weight for the seat.
  • Booster seats: Kentucky changed its booster seat law in June 2015. Children younger than eight years old and who are between 40 and 57 inches tall should be in a booster seat after they outgrow their forward-facing car seat.
  • Seat belts for backseat passengers: Once a child has graduated from a booster seat, then he should wear a regular seatbelt and travel in the backseat until at least age 13.

As you buckle your child up in the right seat for his size and age, please help other parents do the same. Share this blog post on social media or visit the Child Passenger Safety Week website for more information about what you can do to promote awareness and help save lives.

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky
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