As a parent, I learned quickly there are so many things that are out of my control. I can’t make my kids eat or even sleep when I want them to; I can’t take their tests for them at school or make sure they get invited to all the birthday parties. But one thing I have always made sure to control is the safety of my children inside our vehicles. From day one when I brought my firstborn home from the hospital, each of my three children has been properly buckled into the appropriate car seat. Unfortunately, many Missouri children are getting injured and killed because they are not properly secured.
In fact, car crashes are the number one killer of children. During the last three years in Missouri, 55 children were killed and 655 suffered disabling injuries as a result of traffic crashes. I see small children sitting in the front seat, kids standing inside vehicles unrestrained, babies riding on parents laps and many other examples of negligent care and it makes me angry for them. They deserve to get where they are going safely.
A recent NHTSA study reveals nearly three out of four parents don’t know how to use child safety restraints properly. Child Passenger Safety Technicians in Missouri report an even higher misuse rate, so during Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19-25, parents and other caregivers can join in a Twitter Party, hosted by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, where they can find out from experts how to protect their kids. The first ever Missouri-hosted car seat Twitter party is from 1-3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23. Certified car seat technicians will answer any question tweeted to #savemokids via Twitter.com.
National Seat Check Saturday also is Sept. 25 and technicians will provide on-site car seat checks and education at locations across Missouri. Seat Check Saturday is the culmination of a week-long child safety seat campaign that began Sept. 19. The annual campaign includes education on proper safety seat installation and use as well as increased law enforcement cracking down on Missouri’s child safety seat law violators. Violators could pay fines as much as $50 plus court costs.
In case you don’t know though, Missouri law requires all children under eight to be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat, unless:
• They are at least 80 pounds.
• They are at least 4’9” tall.
There are many choices I want my kids to have in life, but buckling up is one choice I make for them -- because I choose their safety. Buckle Up and Arrive Alive.