As you know I’ve teamed up with Safe Kids Worldwide to help raise awareness about their mission to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. According to SKW, throughout the world, almost 1 million children die of injuries each year.
To help combat these numbers, effective January 1st, the Associated Press out of Tallahassee reports that according to The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles children ages 4 and 5 will be required to sit in a child safety seat or booster seat rather than only using a seatbelt.
Executive Director Terry Rhodes says “that while seat belts save lives, booster seats elevate children to the height at which safety belts will properly secure them. After age 5, children are ready to wear seat belts with a booster seat if they are at least 4-foot-9 and can sit all the way back and bend their knees at the edge of the seat.”
The AP adds that in 2013, five children were killed as a result of improper or no child restraint use and five children have been killed and 145 injured for the same reason in 2014.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children ages 4-8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.
Furthermore, The CDC says many children may need booster seats beyond the age required by law, depending on the size of the child and where the seatbelt crosses the body. The following recommendations can help determine if your child, after age 5, is ready to wear a seatbelt without a booster seat:
- The child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall
- The child can sit all the way back in the seat and bend knees at the edge
- The shoulder belt lays across the chest, not the neck
- The lap belt lays across the upper thighs, not the stomach
*Children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat of the vehicle whenever possible for additional safety.
Did you know there are hundreds of certified Child Passenger Safety technicians in Florida? Click on the link provided to find out more information and to locate the nearest child car seat inspection station nearest you: www.safercar.gov/parents/Car-Seat-Safety.htm.
Thanks so much for letting me pass this information along and I hope that many of you find it helpful, as I know so many questions linger about the best way to keep your child safe while you have them in the car. All of this is what makes my run for Mrs. Florida International personally gratifying! Happy New Year to each and every one of you!