NEWS RELEASE For immediate release Friday, September 16, 2016

Contact: Katie Fallon Public Information Officer

404.463.0611 (o) | 404.309.7591 (c) kfallon@gohs.ga.gov

(ATLANTA) – Sunday marks the beginning of National Child Passenger Safety Week and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is sponsoring events statewide to raise awareness for all parents and caregivers to keep their precious cargo safe in the right car seat, booster or seatbelt. And to make sure they remain safe every trip, every time. The goal of Child Passenger Safety Week is to ensure all parents and caregivers are correctly using the right car seat or booster for their child’s age, height and weight. Communities all over Georgia have planned car seat check events and educational activities, which will culminate in national Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 24. “Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for children both in Georgia and nationwide,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “Sadly, we’ve found that more than half, 59 percent, of all car seats are installed incorrectly. That is why we join this national campaign every year…to share the lifesaving knowledge of properly buckling up your young passengers. Nationwide, a child under 13 is involved in a traffic crash every 33 seconds. The good news is we know car seats can help save lives. In 2014, 252 children under 5 were saved because they were riding in the correct car seat. An additional 100 children could’ve been saved is their car seat had been used correctly. Also in 2014, 38 percent of children under 13 killed in car crashes were completely unbuckled…no car seats, no booster seats and no seatbelts. “It’s okay if you’re not sure if your child’s car seat is installed correctly. That’s what we’re here for,” Blackwood said. “We have a comprehensive, county-by-county list on our website of free car seat check events happening statewide during CPS week. Find one near you and make sure your kids are safe.”

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only or “infant” car seat, he/she should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or multi-use car seat. After outgrowing the rear-facing size limits, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. Finally, children should then be placed in booster seats until the age of 8, as per Georgia law. Director Blackwood has made an interview about child passenger safety available to media via Dropbox at https://www.dropbox.com/s/1yq40n34yq5wlir/Child%20Safety%20Seat%20Awareness.mov?dl=0.

For questions, contact Robert Hydrick at robert.hydrick@gohs.ga.gov or 404-859-0141.

For more information about Georgia’s child passenger safety laws, visit http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/campaigns/child-passenger-safety/.

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