Keeping Kids Safe: The Delaware Office of Highway Safety Promotes National Child Passenger Safety Week
Traffic Safety Outreach Coordinator
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children – let’s change that
OHS Promotes National Child Passenger Safety Week
September 19 – 25, 2021
[DOVER, Del.] September 15, 2021 — Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children, according to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. A child is involved in a crash while riding in a passenger vehicle, on average, every 25 seconds. Over the last five years (2016 – 2020), 1,242 children were admitted to Delaware hospitals as the result of a crash. On average nationally, two children under 13 were killed and an estimated 374 were injured every day in 2019 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans. 608 child passenger vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes in 2019.
While the fatality numbers are significantly lower than they were in 2018 — a 4% decrease — there is still a lot of work to be done to keep all children safe on America’s roadways. 38% of children who died in 2019 while riding in passenger vehicles were unrestrained, compared to 33% in 2018.
Car seats save lives – but they need to be used correctly
As parents or caregivers, we want to ensure our children are as safe as possible, no matter the situation. Correctly installed car seats and booster seats are a critical component of children’s safety. When installed correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.
But according to the NHTSA, while most caregivers are confident that they have correctly installed their child’s car seat, almost half have been installed incorrectly. Here in Delaware, four out of five child safety seats are not installed correctly.
What caregivers can do:
“We know the list of things that parents do out of love for their children is long. Adding car seat safety to that list is essential to a child’s well-being,” says Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “During Child Passenger Safety Week in September, I encourage all parents and caregivers to take advantage of the free, online material that can be used to make sure children are in the right car seats for their ages and sizes, and that the seats are installed correctly. But our commitment to child passenger safety extends well beyond September. Our certified child passenger safety technicians are available for in-person or virtual seat checks year-round as well.”
“Children grow quickly, parents and caregivers should re-evaluate their car seats and booster seats routinely,” Chesser continues. “Take some time to take a second look at your car seats and booster seats. Make sure these car seats fit your children appropriately, and that they are correctly installed in your vehicle.”
What we’re doing:
As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, OHS is hosting a free event to make sure children are safely secured in their car seats and booster seats, and caregivers have the confidence to install those seats independently.
On Saturday, September 25, local caregivers are invited to stop by Christiana Hospital’s Newark Campus for our free our Seat Check Saturday event.
From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., certified child passenger safety technicians will help families correctly install car seats and booster seats. The technicians will also help register attendee’s child safety seats, and check if the seats have been part of a recall or if they have expired.
If caregivers are unable to come to this event, they can schedule a one-on-one in-person or virtual seat check.
About the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues, such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. Follow OHS on ArriveAliveDE.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.