Safety

Back to School Brings Focus to Child Passenger Safety

September 15, 2015 - Traffic Safety - September Features Statewide Car Seat Check Events.

STATEWIDE — Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages one to 13, and in the U.S. in 2013, a child under 13 was involved in a crash every 33 seconds. With this in mind, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Team Colorado are observing Child Passenger Safety Week and hosting more than 25 events throughout September to help parents know if their kids are safe while riding in vehicles.

“Over Labor Day weekend, we were reminded just how important it is to keep children safe when they’re traveling in vehicles,” said Sam Cole, Safety Communications Manager at CDOT. “On September 6, four children were ejected from a vehicle during a crash. Two children were killed in the crash and the two other children suffered severe injuries — none of them were properly restrained. It’s on adults to make sure kids in vehicles are safe.”

The events throughout September include car seat checks, educational classes for car seat technicians and community safety events. For a full list of all the events throughout the state, visit the Car Seats Colorado Facebook page and click on the events tab —facebook.com/carseatscolorado/events.

Last year in Colorado, seven children under the age of 15 died in passenger vehicle crashes — four of those occurred in Weld County. According to preliminary data, so far in 2015, eight children have died in passenger vehicle crashes.

“What we as parents and adults have to realize is that children rely on us to keep them safe when they’re in vehicles,” said Tim Sutherland, CPS Program Coordinator with the Colorado State Patrol. “They can’t properly restrain themselves, so adults need to make sure that every time a child is in a vehicle, they are properly restrained in the correct car seat, booster seat or seat belt, no matter how long the trip is.”

In Colorado, the child passenger safety law is primary enforcement, meaning drivers can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child under age 16 in the vehicle. The minimum fine for having an unrestrained child is $82. During the nighttime seat belt enforcement period in July, 61 motorists were cited for not having children buckled up.

CDOT, CSP and CPS Team Colorado encourage all parents, childcare providers and anyone else who works with children to take part in the National CPS Week. Head to CarSeatsColorado.com to find campaign materials such as posters, brochures and infographics. Large organizations, such as schools and day cares can schedule to have one of Colorado’s technicians or instructors perform seat checks at the drop-off or pick-up areas.

In the U.S. in 2013, more than 638 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 127,250 were injured. CPS Team Colorado is comprised of local child seat technicians, law enforcement, emergency services, non-profits and many other professionals who are dedicated to implementing CPS training programs and encouraging parents to take the necessary steps to protect their children when in vehicles. More information can be found at CarSeatsColorado.com.

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