Child Passenger Safety Week comes to a close with National Seat Check Saturday
There comes a time when every child takes the next step. Or in this case, the next seat. For as long as I’ve been practicing law, and for as long as I’ve been a parent, one of the more nerve-wracking topics that inevitably becomes a source of frustration for adults has been car seats. Everyone has questions about them—their safety, their installation, the right time to swap seats for a growing toddler—and everyone has, at one point, expressed insecurities when making the leap from infant seat to convertible seat to no-seat at all.
My daughter, who just turned six, took the leap from rear-facing seat to convertible seat just a few years ago. Now, she’s settled into a convertible. In no time at all, she’ll soon outgrow it. The cycle has predictably been tough to keep up with. Each time we’ve had to re-think car seats, we’ve had to consider models, styles, purpose and safety. And when it comes to safety, we’ve gone the extra mile to ensure the best-case scenario. But even still the adjustment has never been as smooth as we’d like it to be.
We’ve seen it all: seats that need rubber mats to prevent them from slipping, harnesses with five-point buckles and the ever-challenging, ever-confounding booster seat. Invariably, there’s always something new to learn.
Case in point: news coming out of Ann Arbor last week had some interesting stats about the dangers associated with boosters. It turns out children who ride in boosters are twice as likely to suffer serious injuries or even death due to an auto accident, but a new study from the University of Michigan is also showing that booster seat-aged kids are also less likely to have their seats inspected properly. An analysis from the University of Michigan Health System, which conducted booster seat inspections for kids 4 and older, showed that just 1 in 10 inspections covered booster seat-aged children ages 4–7.
As Child Passenger Safety Week comes to a close this weekend, along with National Seat Check Saturday taking place tomorrow, there are several opportunities for you to brush up on your car seat education. Several stations in Illinois, including a family safety fair taking place tomorrow in Downers Grove at Illinois Tollway headquarters (2700 Ogden Avenue) from 10am–2pm, are encouraging parents to get their seats inspected as part of the nationwide awareness campaign. Roughly 90 percent of child safety seats inspected by the Illinois State Police are installed improperly, according to records kept by state police. That’s a significantly high percentage with all the technology and awareness campaigns going on in this day and age. So take precautionary measures and find a service station near you. If you’re anything like my wife and me, you’re going to learn more than you ever thought you would.