In Washington State, 67 child vehicle occupants 12 and younger died in traffic crashes from 2010-2017
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) are teaming up this September to help make sure all parents and caregivers are correctly using the right car seats (rear-facing, forward-facing or booster seats) or seat belts for their child’s age and size.
WTSC and DOH support the Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) network in Washington. During Child Passenger Safety Week, September 23-29, many communities will have these technicians available to educate consumers about choosing the right car seat, installing that seat correctly in their vehicle, and using that seat on every trip. Mason County will lead off the week with a Child Passenger Safety Technician course at the Kamilche Fire Station. This course will train more car seat technicians to assist with car seat inspections and education. Services offered throughout the state are supported and operated by Safe Kids Coalitions and Washington’s Child Passenger Safety Program. To find a car seat inspection station near you, go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#install-instructions.
Motor vehicle crashes remain one of the leading causes of death among children in the United States. In Washington, between 2010 and 2017, 67 child vehicle occupants ages 12 and younger died in traffic crashes – 14 of those children were unrestrained; 21 were restrained with only the seat belt system (whereas a booster seat may have improved occupant protection), and; 10 were riding in an illegal position (front seat or cargo area).The rate of serious motor vehicle crash injury and death for American Indians and Alaskan Natives children in Washington is three times that of other racial groups.
Chief Bob Burbridge, Mason Co. Fire District #4, had a recent experience highlighting the need for more child passenger safety awareness and services in his communities. “I received a call from an expecting mother who wanted her car seat inspected for proper installation. I realized when I called around, trying to find the nearest location, that we were really lacking these types of services in this area. A car seat technician from Thurston County ended up connecting with this mother soon after the baby was born.” Helping this mother find the services she needed led Mason County Fire District 4, the Squaxin Island Tribe, and the Skokomish tribe to partner in hosting a September course on child passenger safety.
As a community, we have an obligation to keep children safe. Making sure children travel in the correct car seats for their age and size is crucial. Parents and caregivers have a responsibility to make sure they and their children are properly buckled up for every trip, every time – including on short trips to places like the grocery store or school. Children rely on us to keep them safe.