Back to School: A Great Time to Think About Safety in the Car
By Bill Hall
Let’s face it, we, as parents, are concerned about the health and safety of our kids almost every second of every day. We worry about them eating enough vegetables, about them getting hurt, about them making friends, and about their overall well-being. It is no secret that parents have a lot on their minds!
But one of the most important things we can do to keep our kids safe is often overlooked. Making sure kids are correctly buckled up in a car seat or seatbelt is the best way to keep them from being injured in a crash. However, in 2014 nearly half of the North Carolina kids under age 16 killed in car crashes were not riding in a car seat or seatbelt at all.
With so much information out there, it can be difficult for parents to figure out the best way to keep kids safe in the car and parents often wonder if they are making the right choice. I’ve been working as a child passenger safety educator for nearly 40 years so I can share some of what I’ve learned during my many years working to keep kids safe. When it comes to choosing the best option for your child – from car seat, to booster seat to seat belt - there is no magic number. Kids come in all shapes and sizes with different personalities and levels of maturity. What might make sense for one child may not be the best choice for another, even if they are the same age or size.
North Carolina has a large network of Child Passenger Safety Technicians with programs located throughout the state to help parents ensure they are making the best choices for their family. Known as “Permanent Car Seat Checking Stations,” these programs are places parents can take their kids, their car, and their car seats and booster seats and meet with a Child Passenger Safety expert to make sure their family is riding safely in the car.
“It is important to remember that as kids get older their safety needs change. Having a child’s car seat or booster seat checked by a Child Passenger Safety Technician is one of the easiest ways for parents to make sure their kids are riding safely in the car” says Meg Langston, Director of Safe Kids NC.
It’s back to school time, and your routine may be more tied to the car now than it has been in the last several months. Visit a Permanent Car Seat Checking Station and start the school year with peace of mind knowing that your kids are riding safely in the car.
For more information and to find a Permanent Car Seat Checking Station in your community visit www.buckleupnc.org.
Bill Hall has been working in Child Passenger Safety for nearly 40 years. He lives in Durham and is the father of Alex and Leslie, and grandfather of Clara.