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Local News

Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 20-26

Child Safety SeatSafety advocates across Kansas encourage families to make sure their children are always securely buckled up during Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20 through 26.

The Kansas Department of Transportation reports that 1,033 children between the ages of 0 to 13 were injured and eight were killed in traffic crashes across Kansas in 2018.

"Car seats and seatbelts are the most effective way to protect your child's life and prevent severe and disabling injuries from vehicle crashes," said Cherie Sage, State Director of Safe Kids Kansas. "CPS Week is an opportunity to talk with families about why proper use of child restraints is so important, and how parents and caregivers can access resources and be confident their children are riding as safely as possible."

It is estimated that two out of three child safety seats are misused and around 25 percent of children ages 4 to 7 are prematurely moved to seat belts.

"It is important to make sure children are always properly buckled in the back seat in a car seat, booster seat or seatbelt, whichever is appropriate for their weight, height and age," said Cynthia Callaway, Traffic Safety Specialist at the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office.

"As a law enforcement agency, every day we see a clear picture as to why seatbelts and car seats are imperative to children's safety," said Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Candice Breshears. "For many of us law enforcement officers, some of the most vivid, tragic memories are those of crashes involving children who were killed. Many of these children could have been saved if they had simply been in the right car seat, or if they had been wearing their seatbelts."

The Kansas Highway Patrol has numerous child passenger safety technicians, some of whom are instructors, located throughout the state.

"These KHP members make it a priority to make sure Kansas children are kept safe when traveling in our state," Breshears said. "They can help to make sure that your car seat is installed correctly."

To ensure your child is riding in the right seat that is installed correctly, find a certified car seat technician near you by visiting www.kansascarseatcheck.org. You can also visit www.UltimateCarSeatGuide.org for tips and videos on how to select, use and install your car seat or booster seat.

Drivers should also remember to check the back seat for children to make sure no one is left inside a vehicle. Even on mild days, the interior of a vehicle can quickly heat up and become dangerous for children, whose body temperature rises faster than an adults.

"Keeping your vehicle locked and the keys out of reach can prevent children from climbing inside and getting trapped," said Tenille Kimberlin, Director of Safety at the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office.

"One thing I feel is so important is reminding caregivers to be a good role model and buckle up," Breshears said. "Children are watching you all of the time, and you are one of the most important people they learn from."

For more information on Kansas' seatbelt laws and child passenger safety, go to ktsro.org.

(Information courtesy Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office. Photo courtesy National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

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