Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2010
 


Contact:

Josh Kauffman 217/558-0517
Guy Tridgell 312/814-4693



Child Seat Check Scheduled for Saturday to Provide Parents with Free Hands-On Training During National Child Passenger Safety Week

IDOT, SIU School of Medicine, AAA, Illinois State Police and Dorel Juvenile Group Join in Effort


SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Transportation, AAA, Dorel Juvenile Group, Illinois State Police and SIU School of Medicine today called on all parents and caregivers to ensure that children are properly restrained in correctly installed child safety seats when traveling on Illinois roadways. On Saturday, September 25, over 70 free child seat checks will take place in Illinois providing parents with free hands-on training from certified child passenger safety (CPS) technicians.

"IDOT is committed to child passenger safety in Illinois and encourages all parents to take advantage of the free CPS seat checks offered this Saturday,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “The bottom line is safety seats do not work unless they are properly installed and the child is correctly buckled up. We commend the dedication and hard work of our partners as we collaborate to ensure all children are properly restrained when traveling on Illinois roadways.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, in too many cases because three out of four child safety seats are installed incorrectly. A major safety issue being addressed this year is to promote keeping children in their safety seats as long as recommended. Of particular importance is that infants and toddlers remain rear-facing until about 30-35 pounds, depending on the type of seat.

Information gathered from a recent article from the American Academy of Pediatrics supporting this concept revealed the following statistics:

  • Children under the age of two years are 75% less likely to die or sustain serious injury when they are in a rear-facing seat.
     

  • Children under two are five times safer in a rear-facing seat than when riding in a forward-facing seat into the second year of life.
     

  • Children should ride in a rear-facing seat to the highest weight or height allowed for use rear-facing by the manufacturer of the seat.

Joining this effort is the SIU School of Medicine, who urge their pediatricians and family practitioners to follow this recommendation and advise parents to keep their children secured to the upper limits of their safety seats.

“SIU Orthopedics applauds the 20 years of commitment ThinkFirst has developed in their injury prevention outreach programs throughout Illinois,” said Dr. Khaled Saleh, Chair, Division of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation, SIU School of Medicine. “As providers of orthopedic trauma care, we have witnessed the results of an improperly installed child safety seat and the results of a driver or passenger not using their safety belts. We support the best practice use of both of these important safety measures.”

Because child safety seats save lives, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws requiring their use. In Illinois, by law, all children must be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat until age 8, but best practice is to wait until the child is 4’9” tall. Among child passengers under age five, child restraints saved the lives of an estimated 244 children in 2008.

Effective January 1, 2011, in an effort to save even more lives, parents/caregivers stopped for child safety seat violations will be eligible to have the fines waived if they complete a safety seat installation under the guidance of a certified CPS technician. Parents must show proof of education/installation to have the fine dropped.

"We know that when children are riding in a properly installed safety seat that corresponds appropriately to their age, height, and weight, serious injuries and fatalities decrease," said ISP Acting Director Jonathon Monken. "The emphasis of this new law is not on the fine but rather on education and making children safe."

"Illinois has made great strides in keeping its children safe on the roadways,” said Brad Roeber, regional president of AAA Chicago. “But, as survey data tells us, there are still some parents who need assistance to ensure Illinois children are safely buckled up. We encourage these and all parents to take advantage of Seat Check Saturday as AAA wants the roads to be safe for its youngest travelers."
For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers should refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines for determining which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on their age and size. Information on these guidelines can be found on our website at www.buckleupillinois.org.

"Our car seat team is committed to building the safest car seats in the world," said Dorel Juvenile Group President Dave Taylor. "It's equally important to educate parents, especially new ones, on how to use car seats to maximize their safety features. We are doing this through partnerships with organizations committed to road safety, such as AAA."

All children younger than the age of 13 should ride in the back seat. Safety belts are required for all occupants under the age of 16 in all seating positions in all cars, light trucks and vans. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to ride in the bed of a pickup truck.

The annual National Child Passenger Safety Week campaign, which runs this year from September 19-25, focuses on increasing awareness of these issues and provides parents and caregivers with resources and information to better protect children from motor vehicle crashes. The week’s activities wrap up on Saturday, September 25th with its signature event--Seat Check Saturday.

Thousands of seat check events will be taking place at locations across the country. At each of these events, child passenger safety technicians will provide free hands-on child safety seat inspections and offer advice and instruction to parents and caregivers. All Illinois events are sponsored by AAA, Dorel Juvenile Group and the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety (IDOT/DTS).

For more information on Child Passenger Safety Week, or to find a seat check near you, please visit www.buckleupillinois.org.
 

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