Florida – It’s National Child Passenger Safety Week, and AAA is working with organizations nationwide to encourage parents and guardians to make sure children are safe and secure in the car – and for kids 13 and under that means sitting in the backseat.
“This week serves as a good reminder for parents and caregivers to keep safety basics in mind when it comes to traveling with children in a vehicle,” said Amy Stracke, Executive Director, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “This means ensuring that all children – from babies to teens – are safely buckled up every time they ride in a vehicle.”
AAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics say all infants and toddlers under the age of 2 should ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their car seat.
“Parents and caregivers are often anxious to turn their young children forward-facing in their car seats too soon,” said Michele Harris, Traffic Safety Consultant, AAA. “However, due to their underdeveloped bodies, children below the age of two who ride forward-facing are at a greater risk of head, neck and spinal cord injuries if involved in a collision.”
Children are also at risk if they sit in the front seat of a car before they’re ready. According to the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA), almost 60% of accidents are frontal impacts and nearly 20% are side impacts. Kids 13 and under usually aren’t big enough to safely ride in the front seat and could be seriously hurt by air bags during a crash.
According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey, 73% of FL parents let their kids sit in the front seat for the first time when they were 12 or younger.
Adults should always buckle up too – not only for their own safety, but to set a good example for kids who may be watching.
For more on car seat safety go to SafeSeats4Kids.AAA.com.
Photo courtesy Gargantiopa and Shutterstock.com.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.