According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two out of three safety seats are not used correctly. St. David’s Emergency Center in Leander will host a free car safety event Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to noon at 601 St. David’s Loop, Leander, where parents will be able to have their child’s safety seats checked and even get free car seats.
The NHTSA says child safety seats in passenger cars reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers. In Texas, in 2017, 408 children younger than 8 years old were seriously injured and 73 died in traffic crashes. Also last year, 411 children ages 8 to 12 were seriously injured and another 30 were killed.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released updated guidelines for car seats, eliminating the age requirement for rear-facing children,” said Kristen Hullum, trauma injury prevention coordinator for St. David's Round Rock Medical Center. “These new guidelines recommend that children remain rear-facing as long as possible, until they reach the maximum height or weight restriction of their convertible seat. With the higher weight and height limits that many car seat manufacturers are allowing, this may allow children to ride rear-facing until they are between 2 and 5 years of age. Now is a good time to get your car seat checked by a certified passenger safety technician, to make sure you're following the new guidelines and providing the safest seat for your child.”
The event is a partnership between St. David’s and Williamson County EMS and Austin-Travis County EMS. Call 512-943-1264 to register for an appointment. Participants must register in advance.