Officials encourage seat belt usage during Child Passenger Safety Week

Published 8:11 am Monday, September 18, 2023

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State and local officials are reminding people during “Child Passenger Safety Week” to buckle up their youngest passengers because car crashes are still a leading cause of death for most children.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, the N.C. Department of Insurance, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Safe Kids NC and others hosted a press conference in Greenville on Monday to underscore the importance of child passenger safety. During the child passenger safety clinic, experts also demonstrated how to properly install car seats.

Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed Sept. 17-23 as “Child Passenger Safety Week” in North Carolina.

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“The use of child passenger restraints is highly effective, and the proper implementation of child safety seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, which funds efforts to reduce traffic crashes in North Carolina and educates caregivers on child passenger safety. “However, we cannot rely on these safety measures alone. We urge everyone to become informed on the correct usage and installation of child safety seats, and the importance of always using a seat belt.”

While car seats and boosters provide crash protection for infants and children, car crashes are still a leading cause of death for children between 1 and 13 years old. According to Safe Kids North Carolina, nearly 100 children under age 14 die annually from vehicle-related crashes, and about 45,000 minors are injured and need medical treatment.

“More than 3,000 nationally certified child passenger safety technicians across the state teach parents and caregivers how to properly install car seats in their vehicles,” stated a North Carolina Department of Transportation press release. “Thanks to these and other child safety efforts, North Carolina maintains its position as having one of the nation’s strongest programs promoting child passenger safety.”

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