A new federal push to reduce childhood injuries and deaths on the roads came from the stark and unfortunate facts that every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash and more than a third of children killed in crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. As part of the initiative, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched safety tools and a registration campaign to increase car seat safety.
The launch of these tools corresponded with Child Passenger Safety Week (September 14 – 20).
The new Car Seat Finder Tool not only helps parents and caregivers select the right car seat or booster seat, based on age and size of child, but the ability to easily look up recalls. The “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today” campaign, the agency said, encourages parents and caregivers to register their child’s car seat so manufacturers know how to notify them of a recall and how to receive the free fix.
“Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense by ensuring they are selecting the right car seat, registering it, and using it correctly for every trip,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
The agency noted that in 2014 it pushed manufacturers to recall seats with defective buckles and to ensure that owners received a replacement buckle at no cost. The agency’s efforts, it said, led to the recall of more than 7.4 million car seats, but on average only 40 percent of people get their car seat fixed.
“That’s in comparison to an average of 75 percent for light vehicles, for which registration is required by law,” NHTSA said.
“Regardless of age or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt that is installed correctly and free from safety defects,” David Friedman, the agency’s deputy administrator said in a statement. “The first step for a parent is finding the right seat and our new Car Seat Finder Tool helps sort through the numerous options in car seats to ensure they’re making the best choices for their child passengers.”