National Child Passenger Safety Week has arrived, with agencies and organizations across the country working to bring awareness to the need to employ best practices for child safety.
Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched several PSAs to bring attention to the need for parents to adjust their children’s car seats according to their age, height, and weight.
NHTSA noted that car crashes are a leading cause of death among children under the age of 13, with 710 fatalities logged in 2021. Moreover, approximately 46% of all car seats are being misused.
Some key facts to bear in mind are that children under 2 years old should be riding in rear-facing car seats, according to TxDOT.
Next, children should remain in either forward-facing car seats or booster seats until they have reached a height of 4 feet 9 inches — usually between the ages of 8 and 12.
Failure to comply with these rules can lead to a hefty fine of up to $250, according to Texas law.
In Texas, the TxDOT has launched a campaign called “Save Me With a Seat” to help Texas parents schedule a free seat safety check and more.
“It’s extremely important that parents schedule a car seat check today,” said Marc Williams, TxDOT executive director, according to WFAA. “Ensuring car seats are installed correctly is one of the most important things a parent or caregiver can do to protect the smallest occupants in a crash.”
These checks are available year-long and take between 20 and 30 minutes. To schedule a check in the Dallas area, click here. Otherwise, enter your ZIP code for a location near you.
Mandy Watson, a mother from Corpus Christi, knows firsthand how important it is to use car seats properly.
A decade ago, she was traveling with her 11-month-old and 5-year-old when she got into a head-on collision.
“Immediately after the crash, I climbed in the back seat. In that moment I knew it worked. I knew their car seats did everything they were supposed to do, because they were still intact, still in place, and I could hear my babies crying,” said Watson, according to WFAA.
TxDOT’s latest campaign is part of a larger initiative known as #EndTheStreakTX to promote safer driving practices in the Lone Star State.
Texas lawmakers also made several moves to boost traffic safety by passing a series of laws during the recent 88th legislative session, including one allowing local authorities to alter speed limits based on road conditions, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
Dallas ranked No.2 in traffic fatalities among the nation’s most populous cities between 2015 and 2019, while Fort Worth ranked No.4, according to data.