Child Passenger Safety Week: Research, Register, and Reach Out to Help Others

As the father of a young son, I know the worries that accompany the joys of parenthood.

As a parent you will always worry. But, there will come a day when you can worry less: maybe once you see a son or daughter graduate college, find career success, or get married. And until then, it’s up to us to keep our children safe.

That’s why we’re reaching out directly to parents and to organizations committed to protecting children about car seat safety as part of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from September 14-20. We want everyone to know that protecting children means researching the correct car seat, making sure it’s registered so you’re notified of any safety recalls, and — if you’re as committed to this issue as we are at NHTSA — to reaching out and spreading the word about car seat safety on social media this week.

Research.

One of the first purchases for any new parent is a car seat. Your child cannot travel safely unless he or she is restrained in a car seat that is appropriate for your child and that has been been properly installed. But how are parents to know what seat is best? With the help of NHTSA’s new Car Seat Finder every parent or caregiver can quickly and easily identify the type of car seat that will best protect your child. Additionally, our Parents Central Page at SaferCar.gov offers lots of other helpful tips for protecting our kids.

Register.

But our responsibilities don’t end with the selection and purchase of the right car seat or booster seat. In order to be informed of any possible safety recalls your car seat must be registered with the manufacturer. Yet far too many fail to register their seats.

As soon as you bring a new car seat home, immediately mail the postage-paid registration car that comes with it. If you can’t find the card, don’t worry; this web page allows you to register your seat online.

Our “SaferCar” app for iOS — and the new Android version we recently launched — also offer access to recall information, NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings, and other helpful information. “Snail mail” also remains a central way to notify Americans of safety recalls, which is why NHTSA recently mandated that all manufacturers use a new, distinctive label on required mailings so that notices aren’t lost among the junk mail.

Reach Out.

If you or your organization wants to help spread the word throughout Child Passenger Safety Week and beyond, we hope you’ll participate in our Twitter chat on September 17. You can follow the chat or participate by using the hashtag #therightseat. You can also enhance your engagement with your followers by using marketing materials we’ve made available to the public at trafficsafetymarketing.govand sharing brief videos on the topic from our Vine page.

It’s About Keeping Kids Safe in Car Seats

If you want to be sure your car seat or booster seat is safe, or help others protect kids, then remember following steps.

When you hear about a car seat or booster seat recall, be sure to:

  • Find out which models and manufacture dates are involved.
  • Call the manufacturer or visit their Web site for more information and to verify if your car seat or booster seat has been recalled; or
  • Call NHTSA’s toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

Before you call, have the following information:

  • Manufacturer’s name
  • Model Name
  • Model Number
  • Date of Manufacture

If your car seat is recalled get it fixed right away.

If you don’t have another car seat or booster seat to use, keep using the recalled seat while you wait for the repair kit—if the recall notice says you can. Using a recalled car seat or booster seat is almost always safer than letting a child ride in just a seat belt. Many problems are minor but some are serious. All problems should be fixed as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line is Our Kids’ Safety.

There will come a day when parents can worry less, but until then, it’s up to us to keep our children safe.

– By David J.Friedman, Acting Administrator, NHTSA

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