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Don’t buckle up your child the wrong way — here’s why

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: Cold, hard facts show why children must be safely buckled in whenever you drive somewhere, no matter how far you go — a message that’s being reinforced during national “Child Passenger Safety Week,” which began today.

In order:

More children under 13 die in motor-vehicle crashes than from nearly any other cause;

Two-thirds of them are between 4 and 12;

Three of every four children aren’t properly restrained in vehicles.

Used properly, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers in cars, and 58% and 59% for infants and toddlers in SUVs, pickups and vans.

Contrary to what you might think, the risks increase as they grow older.

“Many parents and caregivers move their children out of the best restraint type too soon,” said national Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky.

Certified child passenger safety technicians are available at local sites across New Jersey to provide car seat inspections to parents and caregivers this week.
Hands-on advice and instruction are also given on how to choose the right car seat and use it correctly.


“This week, it is vital for everyone [who] drives a child in a motor vehicle to take the time to understand what it really means to have that child properly restrained in their seat,” Poedubicky said.

“I am urging everybody to review the instructions for their car seats or booster seats,” he added. “If you are unsure or have any questions, go to one of our events and learn from a certified child passenger safety technician. There can be no shortcuts taken with this precious cargo.”

New Jersey law requires children under 8 who weigh less than 80 pounds to ride properly secured in a child safety seat or booster in the back seat.

If there is no rear seat, the child may sit in front — but must be secured by a child safety seat or booster seat.

A rear-facing infant seat should never be placed in a front seat with a passenger-side airbag unless that airbag is switched off.

“Proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts will help decrease the number of deaths and injuries occurring on New Jersey’s roadways,” Poedubicky said.

Here are some tips:

  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time;
  • Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits;
  • To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements;
  • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

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