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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News State Secretary Conti Urges Motorists to Protect Child Passengers

Secretary Conti Urges Motorists to Protect Child Passengers

RALEIGH, N.C. : September 17, 2012 - Department of Transportation’s Secretary Conti urged motorists to always properly secure their children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats or seatbelts. He also encourages citizens to participate in child passenger safety clinics being held across the state Sept. 17-23 as part of Child Passenger Safety Week.
“Adults have the responsibility to make sure children are always properly secured before leaving home,” Conti said. “Throughout the week, visit a car seat safety clinic to have car seats checked by a certified technician.”
New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics advise parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until at least age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises children should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap or shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
In 2011, more than 90 percent of children involved in crashes were reported to have been buckled up. While the rate of deaths in motor vehicle crashes for children under age 15 has decreased substantially in North Carolina (by more than 80 percent since 1981), it is still a leading cause of death for children ages 4 and older due to the sizable number of children not buckled up at the time of the crash. Twenty-six passenger vehicle occupants ages 14 and under were killed in 2011. Of these, nearly half were unrestrained.
In conjunction with Child Passenger Safety Week, local Safe Kids coalitions and Buckle Up Kids programs will conduct child passenger safety clinics to teach parents and other caregivers how to use their car seats properly. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to attend CPS Week events during the week of Sept. 17-23 to have their seats checked by a certified technician. For more information about the proper use of car seats and seat belts, visit www.buckleupnc.org. For a complete listing of CPS Week clinics and other events, refer to the “Local CPS Events Calendar” link. To find “year-round” child passenger safety programs and permanent car seat checking stations in you county, click on the “Find local programs and checking stations” link.
In New Hanover County
In observance of Child Passenger Safety Week (September 16-22nd), Safe Kid Cape Fear Coalition along with WILM is hosting a Safety Saturday Event.  The event will take place on Saturday, September 22 at Legion Stadium from 9am – Noon.  
The event is free and will offer a car seat check, bike skills course, hands-only CPR training, music and over 20 local agencies offering information and giveaways for the entire family. “This is the perfect opportunity to have your car seat checked by a Certified Car Seat Technician,” said Caree Varughese, Safe Kids Cape Fear Coordinator. “This will be the largest car seat check event of the year, and we encourage families to come out and enjoy the event and leave knowing their child is riding safely in the vehicle.”
Seventy-three percent of car seats are not being used correctly. To find out why, Safe Kids analyzed data from more than 100,000 car seat inspections done by certified technicians conducted through its Buckle Up Program, a national initiative established in 1997 by Safe Kids and supported by General Motors and the General Motors Foundation to keep children and families safe in and around cars. Some findings proved that progress is being made, including that 98 percent of children arrived at car seat inspections in the back seat and 98 percent of the children were using some type of restraint.
 Yet, the data revealed that parents and caregivers still have some work to do to ensure their children are restrained properly.
Five safety steps every parent should take include keeping their children in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible, ideally until age two, selecting the correct seat for the weight, height or age of the child, tightening the harness enough and knowing when to let kids ride in the front seat.
“Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent,” said Caree Varughese, Safe Kids Cape Fear Coordinator “Engineers are working hard to ensure cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible. But it’s up to every parent to take full advantage of these innovations by making sure car seats are used and installed correctly.
For more information, please contact Safe Kids Coordinator, Caree Varughese at 910-798-6636 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .