Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children. The Texas Department of Transportation is joining safety advocates statewide to bring awareness to Texas parents, reminding them to always buckle up their children.
The department says that a common but crucial mistake parents make when traveling with children is failing to select an appropriate seat for their child’s age and size and not installing it correctly. As part of its September “Save Me with a Seat” campaign, TxDOT is encouraging parents to sign up for a free child safety seat check-up at any of its 25 district offices located throughout Texas.
“We want to help parents prevent the kind of tragedy no mother or father should have to endure,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass in an issued statement. “That’s why we’re making a special push this month to encourage parents and caregivers to have one of our certified technicians ensure they’re not only using the right seat for their child but also that it’s properly installed.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two out of three safety seats are not used correctly. 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.
To protect against injury, TxDOT encourages all children under age 13 to ride in the back seat, properly fastened in a seat belt or safety seat. TxDOT’s free safety seat inspections are available weekdays throughout the year and take about 20 to 30 minutes. To schedule a seat check-up with a TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist, visit SaveMeWithaSeat.org and enter your ZIP code to find the nearest TxDOT district office. Drivers also can find out if a child should be in a rear-facing, forward-facing or booster seat and get other child passenger safety tips by visiting the website.
Texas law requires all children under 8 years old, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches, to be in a safety seat whenever they ride in a vehicle. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250.
To learn more, visit http://texasclickitorticket.com/child_protection.html.