GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s National Child Passenger Safety Week, so 9 is On Your Side making sure kids are safe in the car.
According to Buckle Up for Life, 75% of car seats are not used correctly. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death in children, and a properly installed car seat can dramatically reduce injury for kids in a crash. A lot of times, the issue is small tweaks like having the seat as tight as it should be or putting the harnesses in the right place.
Kids have to be a year old and 20 pounds before they can face forward. It’s recommended to keep them facing the back until they reach the upper weight limit of the seat. It’s 500 times safer to have a kid facing the rear in the event of a crash. Each step up removes a layer of safety. Kids shouldn’t be put in booster seats before age 4. They must be age 8 or 80 pounds to move out of a booster seat according to NC law, but local experts recommend both 8 and 80 pounds. If they’re under 13, they should be in the back seat. Be sure to follow manufacturer requirements for weight and age.
Vidant Medical Center Injury Prevention Program Coordinator Ellen Walston says it’s about more than just checking car seats.
“Never leave a child even for a minute in a hot car. Unfortunately, we’ve lost 29 children in the U.S., 2 in North Carolina just this summer. And as you know, in eastern North Carolina, it could be 70 degrees in December,” Walston said.
To make sure a car seat is installed properly, most local fire departments do free checks, including Greenville Fire Rescue Station One in Uptown Greenville.
Vidant is home to 1 of 10 Buckle Up for Life programs in the country. They will have distributed over 2,000 free car seats in the east by the end of this year.