To the Editor:

Every day in America, millions of parents and caregivers travel with children in their vehicles. While some children are buckled in properly in the correct car seats for their ages and sizes, many are not, if they are buckled up at all. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half (46%) of car seats are misused.

To help combat this issue, NHTSA is sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week from September 20-26, 2020, a campaign dedicated to helping parents and caregivers make sure their children ride as safely as possible — every trip, every time.

“Every 32 seconds in 2018, a child under 13 was involved in a passenger vehicle crash. Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe,” said Regional Administrator, Susan DeCourcy. “In 2017, there were 312 children under the age of 5 saved because they were using car seats. Car seats matter and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical.”

Too often, parents move their children to the front seat before they should, which increases the risk of injury and death, even if they’re buckled up. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat. In 2015, about 25.8% of children 4 to 7 who should have been riding in booster seats were moved too early to seat belts, and 11.6% were unbuckled altogether.

“As parents and caregivers, we have a long list of things we do for our children to show our love. One of the simplest and most important things on the list should be to make sure our kids are in the right car seat for their age and size,” DeCourcy said. “Get your car seats checked. Make sure they’re installed correctly, and that your kids are in the right seats and are buckled in correctly. Get your car seat checked with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, so you can be sure that your child is the safest while traveling.”

Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer to get notifications in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified technician at www.nhtsa.gov/therightseat.

U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration