DALLAS — Is your child in the right car seat? That’s the question child passenger safety experts at the Injury Prevention Center (IPC) of Greater Dallas at Parkland Health & Hospital System want parents to think about. To help them find out, the IPC is offering a free car seat safety inspection on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Vickery Health Center, 8224 Park Lane, Dallas 75231 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. This special event offered during National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 15-21, is in addition to the ongoing car seat safety inspections offered year-round by the IPC throughout the Dallas area.
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. From 2006 to 2010, 4,028 children age 12 and younger were killed and 660,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. Using the correct restraints in a car reduces the chances of fatal injury for infants by 71 percent and for toddlers by 54 percent, according to 2011 data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Booster seats reduce the risk of injury by 59 percent compared to seat belts alone for children 4-7 years of age. However, only 47 percent of children 4-7 were riding in booster seats in 2011. A study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute in 2012 found that only 17 percent of children 5-7 years of age in Texas were in a booster seat.
“Texas has one of the strongest child passenger safety laws in the U.S.,” said Shelli Stephens-Stidham, IPC Director. “But there are still too many children riding in vehicles either in the wrong size or type of car seat or without a booster seat. Many people are not aware of the Texas law enacted in 2009 requiring children under 8 to be in an approved car seat or booster seat.”
Even parents who use child safety seats may not be adequately protecting their children. To be effective, car seats and booster seats must fit both the child and vehicle and be properly installed. With so many car seat types and models, how do you know which one is right for your child?
In addition, the IPC serves as a car seat resource. To learn more about car seat safety, visit http://www.injurypreventioncenter.org.