Summer is almost here! Do you know where your kids will be going? Amusement parks, day camp, swimming pools, lakes, the shore, grandma’s – the list of fun things to do is almost endless.
But if they are getting in a car – don’t forget to check on car restraints. Are there enough age appropriate car restraints in the car for all of the children who are going on the trip? Ask and check. Before your child rides in a car, ask the driver if he or she has the appropriate car restraints. If need be, install your child’s own car seat in the car. Never allow a child under 13 years old to ride in the front seat unless the air bag is deactivated. If they are old enough, talk to your kids about not getting into a car without appropriate child safety restraints.
Why is this so important? Because between 2010 and 2014, 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents in the United States – and almost half of them (43 percent) were not wearing seatbelts or were improperly restrained. Another 15 percent were sitting inappropriately in the front seat.
And don’t assume that taking the road less traveled to grandma’s house or the lake is safer – 67 percent of deaths among children occurred on rural roads.
Not all car crashes can be prevented. But using appropriate child restraints reduces the incidence of injury and death among children. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas recently undertook an analysis of fatalities related to car crashes and found that proper use of child safety restraints reduces the number of motor vehicle crash-related child deaths.
Another finding from the data analyzed by the researchers was that the incidence of child deaths arising from car crashes varied from state to state. If your child will be riding with someone who lives in another state, check what that state’s child restraint law is. If it is too lenient, insist that New Jersey’s rules are followed. Your child’s safety comes first.
New Jersey’s Child Passenger Restraint Law states:
Any child under the age of 8 years old and a height of 57 inches shall be secured as follows in the rear seat of a motor vehicle:
- A child under the age of 2 years and 30 pounds shall be secured in a rear-facing seat equipped with a 5-point harness.
- A child under the age of 4 years and 40 pounds shall be secured as described in (a) until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing seat, then in a forward-facing child restraint equipped with a 5-point harness.
- A child under the age of 8 and a height of 57 inches shall be secured as described in (a) or (b) until they reach the upper limits of the rear-facing or forward-facing seat, then in a belt positioning booster seat.
- A child over 8 years of age or 57 inches in height must be properly secured by a seat belt.
If there are no rear seats, the child shall be secured as described above in the front seat except that no child shall be secured in a rear-facing seat in the front seat of any vehicle that is equipped with an active passenger-side airbag. The aforementioned is acceptable if the airbag is de-activated.
Buckle up for a safe and fun summer!