Children are our future, and Watsonville Police Department is supporting efforts by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help parents and caregivers make sure their children ride as safely as possible every time they get in the car.
In passenger cars, car seats reduce the risk of an infant being killed in a crash by 71 percent, and toddlers by 54 percent. While many children are buckled in properly in the correct car seats for their age and size, more than half (59 percent) are not.
Sadly, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children. In 2016, 35 percent of children under 13 killed in crashes were not restrained in car seats, booster seats or with seat belts.
The Watsonville Police Department offers tips for parents and caregivers so they can be sure your child is the safest when they are traveling by car:
- Get the right car seat: Rear-facing, forward-facing or booster seat depending on your child’s age, weight and height, and the manufacturer’s recommendations on the seat: http://bit.ly/carboosterseats
- Know the Law: California law requires specific child restraint system based on child’s age, weight and height: https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/programs/child-safety-seats
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions and vehicle owner’s manual: Pay attention to how you adjust the car seat’s harness for a proper fit.
- Register your seat right away: Mail in the registration card that came with the seat, or go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#car-seat-registration so the manufacturer can notify you in the event of a safety recall.
- Rear-facing as long as possible: Keep a child in a rear-facing seat up to the top height or weight allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. Research shows that children are safest when rear-facing.
- Forward-facing car seats: Once your child outgrows a rear-facing seat, keep your child in a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Tethers should always be used for forward-facing car seats. Children are encouraged to stay in forward-facing seats as long as possible before moving to a booster seat.
- Back Seat Safety: Children under 13 should always ride in the back seat.
Parents and caregivers can find a car seat education program in their area here:
https://www.ots.ca.gov/docs/WGCS_2017_Final.pdf, or on the NHTSA website under “car seat inspection”: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats.
Car seat safety checks are also available at every local CHP office. To locate the one closest to you, visit www.chp.ca.gov and Click “Find An Office”