Every day in America, millions of parents and caregivers travel with children in their vehicles. While some children are buckled in properly, most are not, if they are buckled up at all. This week is national Child Passenger Safety Week, and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are reminding Colorado parents to make sure their children are riding safely at all times.
“Every 33 seconds, a child is involved in a car crash,” said CSP Trooper Tim Sutherland, Child Passenger Safety Coordinator for Car Seats Colorado, which is a partnership between the CSP and CDOT. “This is exactly why parents need to be extra vigilant when it comes to car seat safety and protecting their children.”
So far in 2018, 12 children under the age of 15 have lost their lives on Colorado roads.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only one in four children is properly secured when riding in a vehicle, putting the majority at severe risk of injury or death. Child Passenger Safety Week aims to raise awareness about child passenger safety laws and the importance of correctly using car seats, booster seats and seat belts.
This is a mission particularly close to home for Sutherland, who nearly lost his life in an unbuckled car crash as a child.
“To this day, 30 years later, I still find pieces of glass in my head,” said Sutherland, who was ejected from the vehicle through the windshield. “We have so much more information and better technology and resources than we did back then, but it’s up to the parents to make use of it and keep their kids safe.”
Factors contributing to improperly restrained children include an incorrectly installed car seat, use of a car seat that does not fit the child based on their size and the seat manufacturer’s limits, and not properly securing the harness or seat belt.
For these reasons, Car Seats Colorado encourages parents and caregivers to have their car seat checked to ensure proper fit and use at one of these upcoming Child Passenger Safety Week events:
- South Metro Safety Foundation (by appointment), Wednesday, Sept. 26, 12–5 p.m. at South Metro Fire Station 34, 8871 Maximus Dr., Lone Tree, CO 80124
- Jefferson County Safety Fair, Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. – noon, Arvada Fire Training Center, 6651 Indiana St., Arvada, CO 80007
- Health and Safety Fair at the Medical Center of Aurora, Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., The Medical Center of Aurora, 1501 S Potomac St, Aurora, Colorado 80012
- West Metro Fire CPS Fit Station (by appointment), Tuesday, Sept. 25, West Metro Fire Station 16, 3880 Upham Street, Wheat Ridge 80033, Friday, Sept. 28, West Metro Fire Station 10, corner of Hampden & Kipling, Lakewood 80235
- Mothers of Multiples Car Seat Check Event, Saturday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Buybuy BABY Aurora, 6492 S Parker Rd, Aurora, CO 80016-1080
For a list of locations that offer free car seat inspections statewide through the year, visit www.carseatscolorado.com.
“Properly securing your child in a car seat, booster or seat belt is the single most important action you can take to protect them,” said Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager. “It’s never worth risking your child’s life by not following the appropriate measures to keep them safe when riding in a vehicle.”