Categorized | Health

Car seat safety highlights Passenger Safety Week


Each year, hundreds of young children nationwide – including children on the Island of Hawaii – are killed in car crashes. And many more are injured enough to require medical care.

National statistics conclude that accidental injuries, especially those involving car crashes, pose the greatest threat to the lives of young children. Statistics also show using car safety seats and seat belts correctly are the best way to prevent this from happening.

National statistics also show an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints from 1975 to 2008.

“Although many parents are using car seats and booster seats for their children, 9 out of 10 seats are not properly installed,” said Angela Thomas, Baby STEPS to Stronger Big Island Families Coordinator.

As a result, to mark National Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 18-24), Baby STEPS will work with the County of Hawaii, Traffic division and Partners for Safe Keiki on a public awareness campaign to bring attention to the importance of securing children appropriately while riding in vehicles.

A highlight of this multi-faceted public awareness campaign is a series of car seat safety checks on the following dates:

* 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, parking lot outside Sears in Prince Kuhio Mall, Hilo
* 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, parking area fronting Civic Center, Kamuela
* 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, West Hawaii Civic Center, Kealakehe

State law requires all children under the age of four to be secured in a car seat; children between the ages of 4 and 7 are to be secured in booster seats. Older children must be secured in a seat belt and it is recommended that they sit in the back seat of the vehicle.

Island residents should be aware there is an anonymous car seat hotline (961-2226) to report sightings of children not properly restrained in a vehicle. Callers should be prepared to provide a license plate number, car make/model/color, the date and location of the car.

A letter will be sent to the owner about the violation.

“If you are a parent, be sure your children are buckled up appropriately, have your car seat checked by a trained technician and if you see a child unrestrained, call the hotline number. You may be saving a child’s life,” Thomas said.

Baby STEPS to Stronger Big Island Families, a program of Friends of the Future, is an initiative created by individuals and organizations committed to helping all keiki on Hawaii Island to be healthy, happy and to thrive by supporting families, strengthening practitioners and engaging communities.

For information on Baby STEPS to Stronger Big Island Families, contact Thomas at 887-1228.

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