An area child car seat enforcement patrol starts today to make sure children are buckled in accordance with Washington law.

The Spokane County Target Zero Task Force received a grant from Washington Traffic Safety Commission to promote the correct use of child car seats with an educational and enforcement program. According to area law enforcement sources, parents frequently place children in seat belts too soon. Seat belts are designed for adults and don’t properly protect children until they are 4’9” tall.

Under Washington law, people who transport children are required to adhere to the following basic rules to protect children in the event of a crash:

– The car seat must be installed in accordance with the vehicle and the car seat manufactures’ instructions.

-Child ages: 0 to at least 12 months and at least 20 pounds –use a rear-facing infant seat. Keep your child rear-facing as long as your car seat allows. New American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines advise toddlers should remain rear facing until at least two years of age.

– Age: 13 months to age four — use a child car seat with a five-point harness.

– Age: four to 4’9” tall — use a booster seat. Boosters should only be placed with a lap and shoulder belt.

– Age: up to age 13 — children should ride in the rear seat of the vehicle.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children up to age 14.

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