You referenced Volvo having a child passenger seat in one of their vehicles in a previous blog. What is that all about? Anything new parents need to know about car seats?
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Though most live, every 34 seconds one child under age 13 is involved in a crash. Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts, so I am glad you asked. Without being properly restrained, many of these injuries or death could have been prevented.
Child Passenger Safety Week is September 13-19, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the goal is to make sure all parents and caregivers are correctly using the right restraint (rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, booster seat, or seat belt) for their children’s ages and sizes.
You are correct as Volvo just unveiled a unique (and slightly controversial) design for a child’s car seat with its new 2016 XC90 “Excellence” series. The design features an adjustable, swiveling baby carrier in place of the front passenger seat (pictured here). However, we are not offering that child seat until it has been thoroughly tested in the U.S. This new concept was developed to address three key points: make it easier for parents to get children in and out of the car, provide the child with a safe rearward facing seating position and create extra storage for their accessories.
The seat’s position in the XC90 also has the parent literally taking a backseat to their child, allowing them to maintain eye contact throughout the trip. Volvo’s Chief Designer of Interiors Tisha Johnson says, the arrangement would “go a long way toward making life easier for parents taking their small child on a trip,” adding that “alternative seating arrangements will become increasingly important as we move towards autonomous (self-driving) vehicles.”
Another goal of Child Passenger Safety Week is to encourage parents and caregivers to visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat to determine if their child is in the right seat for his or her age and size and to locate a car seat inspection event in their area. Additionally, parents and caregivers will be urged to register their child’s car seat with the manufacturer so as to be informed in the event of a recall, which is fairly common.
This Saturday, September 19, many agencies throughout the state will be offering free child safety seat checks. To find a location in Massachusetts, call 877-392-5956; or go to www.mass.gov/childsafetyseat. Car seat clinics are available at the Andover, No. Andover and Haverhill Police Departments as well as at Lawrence General Hospital. Please be sure to call the non-emergency police numbers for an appointment.
The Bad News
Before you think your children are safe, here are the stats from 2013, the last accurate stats on record:
- In 2013 alone, 126,000 children under age 13 were injured as passengers in car crashes.
- On average, 2 children under age 13 were killed, and 345 children were injured every day in 2013 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans.
- From 2009 to 2013, 1,552 tweens (ages 8 to 14) were killed in cars, vans, and SUVs.
And most importantly, those that could have been prevented:
- In 2013, over one-third (38%) of children (under 13) killed in car crashes were completely unrestrained – they were not in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts.
The Good News
- Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts save lives
- In 2013, among children under the age of 5 in cars, an estimated 263 lives were saved by child restraints.
- An additional 55 children could have survived if car seat use was at 100 percent.
- Car seats work best when used correctly
- In passenger cars, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers. For infants and toddlers in light trucks, the corresponding reductions are 58 percent and 59 percent, respectively.
- Most parents are confident that they have correctly installed their child’s car seat, but in most cases (59%) the seat has not been installed correctly.
Child passenger safety laws
- For the past 30 years, all 50 States have laws requiring children to be restrained while riding in cars.
- Massachusetts passed a booster seat law in 2008 requiring children be in a booster seat or safety seat until age 8 or 57”.
- Failure to read and carefully follow the installation instructions included with a car seat as well as those in the vehicle owner’s manual can lead to incorrect installation, exposing a child passenger to the risk of injury or death in a crash.
- All children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat.
Please make sure your children are in the proper seat or booster and properly restrained. Drive safely and enjoy this beautiful weather. All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion want to see you return home safely with your children.