KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL-TV) – There was a special ceremony this morning to help raise awareness of child safety seats and their importance.
The week of Sept. 19 is Child Passenger Safety Week across the country and the state tour of “Ollie the Otter” along with the Tennessee Highway Patrol tour that began in Memphis stopped in the Tri-Cities today with events at the I-26 rest area in Kingsport and the I-81 rest area in Bristol.
Law enforcement officials from around the area gathered to talk about child passenger safety and the importance of having your child safety seats properly installed.
“If a car seat is not properly installed, it doesn’t even take an impact from a vehicle. If a car stops or hits it’s brakes real quick, the child could come out of the car seat and be just as much damage as if they had been in a car crash.”, Sullivan Co. Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Chris McDavid said.
According to the CDC and National Safety Council, two children under the age of 13 were killed and 308 were injured every day in 2014 while riding in vehicles. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71% among infants and 45% among children ages 4-8.
Any child under the height of 4’9″ is required to ride in a booster seat or child safety seat. Most children need a booster seat until the age of 10-12. Much info on specifics available on the web.
“Children of certain heights don’t need to be in a rear-facing car seat, they need to be in a front facing, and the older they get, they need to be in a booster seat and the height and weight really dictates a lot of that.”, McDavid said.
It is most important that children are in these seats while riding in a vehicle, but, most important, these seats must be properly installed. In most cities, people can go by the police of fire departments to have their child safety seats checked to make sure they are properly installed.
During this week, for example, the Sullivan Co. Sheriff’s Office will visit every elementary school so parents could have their seats checked.
“Every vehicle has a certain way or a certain place to hook the car seat to, we try to hook it to the frame of the car, which makes it a lot sturdier and a lot safer. There is no question that the car seat is not going anywhere., McDavid said, “There are fire stations, there are other agencies, they can take their car seat to any of these places, really day or night, they don’t have to have an appointment, just come in and ask for some assistance with it and there is usually a technician on duty at all times that can come out and check these car seats.”