Contact: Vicky O'Toole
For Immediate Release
February 7, 2001
New Office of Traffic Safety Chief Sends Personal Message to Parents
About Child Passenger Safety
Getting seat checked is the best protection for your child
Carson City, NV - The new Chief of the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, Julie Butler, is sending out a personal message to parents across Nevada to make sure their children are properly secured when riding in a vehicle. In recognition of National Child Passenger Safety Week, Butler, a parent of two young children, is encouraging other parents to visit local child passenger safety seat checkpoints being conducted statewide. National Child Passenger Safety Week is February 11-17 and is designed to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of correct and consistent child passenger restraint.
Butler speaks from experience about how easy it is for parents to improperly install their children's car and booster seats.
"Last January, I visited a child passenger safety seat checkpoint held by the Carson City Fire Department," explains Butler. "To my surprise I found out that neither of my boys' car seats were properly installed." Butler's sons Dalton, 4, and Jarod, 18 months now ride safely secured, but Butler was shocked to find out that her situation is very common. "Nationally, it is estimated that as many as 85 percent of children who are placed in child safety seats are improperly restrained."
A correctly installed and used child safety seat reduces the risk of death by 71 percent for infants. Last year in Nevada, child passenger safety seat use statewide was estimated at only 44 percent.
"While this is a slight improvement from 1999, the figures are still unacceptable in terms of the number of children put at risk of serious injuries or fatalities from motor vehicle crashes," says Butler. From 1997 to 2000, well over half of the children ages 0 - 4 killed in motor vehicle crashes were not restrained in child passenger safety seats. "These are deaths that might have been prevented had these children been properly restrained."
Currently, Nevada state law requires that children under 5 years of age and weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured in a child passenger safety seat approved by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation when traveling in a motor vehicle. Motorists in violation can be fined as much as one hundred dollars.
Butler reminds parents of the proper restraint for children of all sizes. The appropriate restraints are as follows:
· Children weighing less than 20 pounds (approximately up to 1 year old) should be in a rear-facing safety seat placed in the back seat.
· Children weighing at least 20 pounds and up to 40 pounds (approximately 1-4 years old) should be in a forward-facing child safety seat placed in the back seat.
· Children weighing more than 40 pounds who cannot properly fit in an adult safety belt system (usually less than 4'9" tall) should be in a booster seat in the back seat.
· Once a child can fit properly into the adult safety belt system he or she should be properly restrained in the back seat, up to age 13.
To find out more about local child passenger safety seat checkpoint events please contact the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety at (775) 687-5720.
The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety is a division of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety. NV OTS provides funding and expertise, creates partnerships and promotes education in order to reduce deaths and injuries on Nevada roadways. For more information visit the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety web site at www.ots.state.nv.us