If you hadn’t noticed the big electronic signs around the area announcing it, there’s a child car seat emphasis patrol on. The Spokane County Target Zero Task Force received a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to promote the correct use of child car seats with an educational and enforcement program to be conducted throughout Spokane County.

Parents frequently place children in seat belts too soon. Seat belts are designed for adults and do not 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:

▪ Child ages: 0 to at least 12 months and 20 pounds –use a rear-facing infant seat. Keep your child rear-facing as long as your child car seat allows.
▪ Age: 13 months to age four — use a car seat with a five-point harness.
▪ Age: four to 4’9” tall — use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt.
▪ Age: up to age 13 — children should ride in the rear seat of the vehicle.

Every day in the US, on average five children are killed and 548 injured in vehicle crashes (according to 2007 figures). Child car seats reduce the risk of injury by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. If you need information about correctly installing a child car seat visit www.800bucklup.org.

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