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Team effort provides booster seats for kids

Thanks to the Fallbrook Healthcare District, the ‘Think First’ program, North County Fire Protection District and the California Highway Patrol, on March 24, 130 child booster seats were provided for $5 each to lower-income families in Fallbrook.

In addition, education on safety was provided to parents and caregivers at the event, held at Maie Ellis School Auditorium.

Safety technicians from the various agencies and car crash survivors were on hand to educate attendees on how to stay as safe as possible on the roadways.

Speakers said that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of every five children age 4 to 8 is not seated in a proper booster seat inside vehicles, suggesting that 20 percent of children are not safe in their vehicles.

The authorities said motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children ages 4 to 14 in the United States, speculating that it is due in part to lack of education and lack of financial means to purchase booster seats.

“In 2005 an average of five children [14 and younger] were killed and 640 were injured in motor vehicle crashes every single day,” said John Buchanan of North County Fire Protection District. “That’s why we spoke to parents and caregivers about the importance of restraining their children properly in their vehicles.”

Buchanan said statistics show that though 98 percent of US infants and 93 percent of children ages 1 to 3 are regularly restrained, not enough children ages 4 through 8 are restrained properly for their size and age.

He explained that children ages 4 to 8 who are placed in booster seats are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a car crash than children who are restrained only by a seatbelt, according to NHTSA.

Tips for child safety in vehicles

1) For the best possible protection, keep infants in the backseat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.

2) When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the backseat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of that particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).

3) Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride in booster seats, in the backseat, until the vehicle seatbelts fit properly. Seatbelts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall)

4) When children outgrow their booster seats, they can use the adult seatbelt in the backseat, if it fits properly.


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