GLEN BURNIE, MD (September 17, 2020) – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of child fatalities. While some children are buckled properly in the correct car seats for their ages and sizes, many are not – a fact that can lead to tragic results. During Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20-26, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is reminding parents and caregivers to make sure children ride as safely as possible, with proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts, every trip, every ride.
“It is imperative that we protect children at every stage of their lives,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “Car seats, boosters, and seat belts for older children and adults are the first lines of defense in the event of a crash. Making sure children are secured in the correct car seat for their age, height, and weight is the first step in reducing injuries and fatalities.”
In-person car seat checks will not be held this year due to COVID-19. Instead, agencies across the state, including Maryland Kids In Safety Seats (KISS), are conducting virtual seat check events. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will ‘meet’ with community members individually via video conference platforms to teach parents how to correctly use car seats. In addition to the virtual car seat checks, KISS is hosting a free webinar, Traveling Safely with Your New Baby, on Thursday, September 24.
To register for a Video Car Seat Assistance appointment or the free webinar, please visit the Kids in Safety Seats website, mdkiss.org?, or call 800-370-SEAT (7328) for more information.
“A properly installed child car seat can help keep your child safe, but we recognize during this pandemic you may need support without an in-person appointment,” said Dr. Cliff Mitchell, Director of the Maryland Department of Health’s Environmental Health Bureau. “That’s why our new virtual support system allows Certified Child Passenger Technicians to guide you through the proper use and installation of your child’s car seat online, safely, and effectively.”
NHTSA recommends that children should ride in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one car seat. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with a harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use just the seat belts safely.
Parents and caregivers also are reminded to register car seats and booster seats with the manufacturer to be notified of any recalls. Visit NHTSA.gov/recall to see if your car seat, booster seat, or vehicle has any current recalls.