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September 12, 2012

Child Passenger Safety Week

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As parents and caregivers, we constantly worry about the safety of our kids. We make sure they wear helmets when they ride a bike, we try to get them to eat a balanced diet, take them to the doctor when they are sick, and on and on. But, how vigilant are you when it comes to the vehicle and car seat safety?

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1-12? And, here's another scary fact: Safe Kids USA estimates that more than 70% of child safety seats are either installed or used incorrectly.

That's why National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 17-22, is a terrific chance for all of us to take a minute and review the best way to keep our Mini Macaronis safe while riding in a vehicle.

While Child Passenger Safety laws vary by state, here are some general guidelines that apply everywhere.

- More expensive seats don't necessarily mean safer or better. You should choose a seat based on your child´s age and size, as well as what fits best in your vehicle.

- When installing the seat, keep the instructions handy as well as your vehicle owner's manual which will show you how to install a seat using either the seat belts or LATCH system.

- Don't judge by age. Instead, use the car seat manufacturer's height and weight recommendations when determining the best time to switch to a new seat or the seat belt.

- The safest place for a child is in the back seat. National recommendations are to keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

If you're not sure about the seat you're using or how it's installed, during Child Passenger Safety Week, there will be thousands of car seat check-up events throughout the country where you can have your seat checked for FREE! Also, many hospitals, medical centers and State Police stations offer free seat checks by appointment or at scheduled times all year long.  

Finally, another great resource is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which has child safety seat recommendations, ease of use ratings, the latest recalls and more information for parents.

So please, take the time to learn about safety and then be sure to buckle up your Mini Macaronis every ride, every time!


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