In an effort to reduce motor vehicle-related deaths and injury, the leading killer of children under 14, Safe Kids Oklahoma will sponsor a car seat checkup event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday [Aug. 25] during Family Fun Night at Wintersmith Park in Ada.

The car seat checkup will be held in collaboration with Smart Start South Central, the Chickasaw Nation, ECU Child Care Resource and Referral, East Central University and Ada Regional United Way.            

Parents and caregivers will be taught by nationally certified child passenger safety technicians how to properly secure their child in the vehicle. A limited number of car seats will be available while supplies last.            

“Despite laws in all 50 states, surveys reveal that only 80 percent of all children in Oklahoma are buckled up, and of those, more than 80 percent are not restrained correctly,” said Lauren Farrah, Safe Kids Oklahoma coordinator.           

Child passenger safety has evolved dramatically over the past decade, she said, but motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death of children 4 years and older.           

She listed four evidence-based recommendations for choosing a child restraint system for passenger vehicles to optimize safety for children from birth through adolescence: (1) rear facing car safety seats for most infants up to 2 years of age; (2) forward-facing car safety seats for most children though 4 years of age; (3) belt-positioning booster seats for most children through 8 years of age; and (4) lap-and-shoulder seat belts for all who have outgrown booster seats.            

In addition, a fifth evidence-based recommendation is that all children younger than 13 years ride in the rear seats of vehicles.           

Each year in the United States, nearly 1,400 children age 14 and under die in motor vehicle crashes and another 280,000 are injured, Farrah said, primarily because they are not properly secured in vehicles. In 2007, Oklahoma lost 89 children under the age of 14 in motor vehicle crashes.           

“Most parents believe they are taking all the right steps to protect their kids in the car. They are shocked to learn how complex the process really is,” she said. “With hundreds of car seats and several different types of seat belt systems in cars, the potential combinations are numerous, which is one reason installation can be so difficult.”

For Immediate Release: 

Contact: Amy Ford
Jill Frye
East Central University Communications and Marketing
580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)
Or Trish Little, Smart Start South Central, 580-559-5367