Two dozen seat checks marking Child Passenger Safety Week scheduled statewide to keep children safe in motor vehicles
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to participate in National Seat Check Saturday on September 19, a day dedicated to the safety and well-being of children in which free child seat inspections are conducted statewide and across the nation. National Seat Check Saturday, coordinated by state and local law enforcement, along with community safety partners, is the culmination of Child Passenger Safety Week, which raises awareness of the importance of the proper use and installation of child safety seats.
“There is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe," Governor Cuomo said. “As a father and as Governor, I urge all New Yorkers traveling with children to take the time this Saturday to have their car seats inspected.”
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children under 13 years old in the United States, and many times, deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Its 2012 survey also revealed that 20 percent of all drivers of child passengers did not read any instructions on how to properly install their child restraints, yet 90 percent felt “confident” or “very confident” that their car seats and booster seats were installed correctly.
The following events are scheduled for Saturday, September 19:
Some events may require advance registration. Click here for additional details, including contact information. Inspections are performed by certified child passenger safety technicians who can also help parents and caregivers find the correct car seat for a child’s age and size. Car seat rankings are available here.
Anyone unable to attend an event can conduct an at-home checkup of a child’s car seat. Safe Kids and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend the following Safe Kids checklist:
- Right Seat. Check the label on the car seat to make sure it's appropriate for a child's age, weight, and height.
- Right Place. Keep all children in the back seat until they are 13 years old. Doing this, along with correctly using the appropriate child restraints, greatly reduces the risk of injury.
- Right Direction. Keep the child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. When he or she outgrows the seat, move the child to a forward-facing car seat, and attach the top tether after tightening and locking the seat belt or lower anchors.
- Inch Test. Once the car seat is installed, shake it at the base. A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
- Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check the manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at the child's shoulder. If unable to pinch any excess webbing, the seat is installed properly.
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, “We have all heard the horror stories of children being injured and killed in crashes. It’s important not only this week, but all year long, to ensure that the kids we love are buckled in properly. Taking a few moments to check a child’s safety seat can save a life and avoid a lifetime of regret.”
New York State’s first child passenger restraint law went into effect in 1982 and has been strengthened since. According to the current law, all children must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system that meets their size and weight recommended by the manufacturer while riding in a motor vehicle until they reach their eighth birthday. It also notes that a vehicle's safety belts are not defined as a child restraint system under the law, as safety belts are not designed for children under four feet, nine inches tall, and therefore do not protect young children.
For more information on vehicle restraints, car seat recommendations for children, and child passenger safety, visit the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee website.