State And Community Partners Kick Off Child Passenger Safety Week In Hawaii
Posted on Sep 17, 2012 in News
Governor Neil Abercrombie today joined representatives of the state Department of Transportation (DOT), the four county police departments, the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition (KIPC) and other child passenger safety advocates to kick off “Child Passenger Safety Week in Hawai‘i” with a proclamation signing and news conference at The Queen’s Medical Center.
The observance coincides with National Child Passenger Safety Week (September 16-22) and emphasizes the importance of Hawai‘i’s child safety seat and booster seat laws and properly buckling up our keiki.
“Our keiki should walk through these doors as doctors and nurses rather than as victims of a motor vehicle crash,” Governor Abercrombie said at The Queen’s Medical Center. “Sadly, motor vehicle crashes remain one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of 14 in the United States. The simple act of using a child safety seat can mean the difference between life and death for a child.
“An investment in the safety of Hawai‘i’s children is an investment in our state’s future. That’s why the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide federal grants to county agencies, community groups and police departments to conduct child passenger safety activities and enforce the child passenger restraint law.”
Hawai‘i’s child passenger restraint law requires children under the age of 4 to ride in a federally approved child safety seat, and children ages 4 through 7 to ride in a child safety seat or booster seat. Drivers who do not abide by this law can be fined up to $500. Last year, the four county police departments issued a total of 2,206 child restraint citations.
In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their rear-facing recommendation and is now advising that children ride rear facing until the age of 2.
Some Staggering Statistics
- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the five-year period from 2006 to 2010, 4,028 children age 12 and younger were killed in car crashes as passenger vehicle occupants.
- In addition, an estimated 660,000 children were injured. This is more than the combined populations of Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawai‘i counties.
- In Hawai‘i, five children under the age of 8 have died in the last five years in motor vehicle crashes.
- By using a properly installed child safety seat, fatalities can be reduced by as much as 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.
How to Properly Install Child Passenger Safety Seats
Though child safety seats can save lives, they must be used properly in order to do so. If a child safety seat is not installed correctly, the seat could become too loose or the harness straps might not be tight enough. Other problems could occur if the child safety seat tether is not correctly used, the harness retainer clip is not at the armpit level and harness straps are not adjusted properly.
Child passenger safety authorities and technicians encounter two main problems when it comes to child safety seats. The first is getting parents and caregivers to comply with the laws. The second is to ensure that seats are installed correctly.
For maximum child safety, parents and caregivers can visit their local inspection stations and refer to the following “4 Steps for Kids” guidelines that determine which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:
- For the best possible protection, keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants remain rear facing until a minimum age of 2.
- When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at least 2 years of age), they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat.
- Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest.
- When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).
To learn more about Hawai‘i’s child passenger safety law and free community car seat checks, please visit the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition (KIPC) Hawai‘i website at kipchawaii.org. KIPC Hawai‘i can also be reached at (808) 347-5410.