FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA External Affairs|
Maryland’s Smallest Passengers in the Spotlight During Child Passenger Safety Week
Statewide seat checks highlight proper use of car seats and boosters to save lives
GLEN BURNIE, MD - Sunday, September 13, 2015, marked the beginning of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs through the end of the week and culminates with National Seat Check Saturday on September 19. Throughout the week, many Maryland communities will have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on-hand to provide education on how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for children. These technicians can also educate parents and caregivers about choosing the right car seat for their child, the importance of registering car seats with the manufacturer, and what to expect if the seat has been recalled.
“Safety is the number one priority of the Maryland Department of Transportation,” stated Christine Nizer, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Administrator and Governor Hogan’s Representative for Highway Safety. “On average, more than 80 percent of child safety seats inspected in Maryland are improperly installed or misused which could mean a child is not adequately protected in a car crash. Seat check events are the best way to know if you are using your child's car seat correctly.”
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children. Across the nation, one child under age 13 is involved in a crash every 34 seconds. From 2009 to 2013, more than 80,000 passengers under the age of 16 were involved in a crash in Maryland. Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers and booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children aged 4–8 years when compared with seat belt use alone. For older children and adults, seat belt use reduces the risk for death and serious injury by approximately half.
In addition to the potentially lifesaving benefits of using car seats and boosters, officials want to inform motorists that not using the seats can be costly in other ways.
“Maryland law requires that every child under eight years old ride in an appropriate car seat or booster unless the child is 4' 9" or taller,” stated Tom Gianni, Chief of the Maryland Highway Safety Office. “Once the child hits that height, the state’s adult seat belt law is in effect for every passenger. We’re in the communities educating people before tickets are written for unrestrained children and adults because we know that seat belts and car seat use saves lives.”
By law, each violation of Maryland’s child passenger safety law or adult seat belt law carries a penalty of $83, including court costs. Citations can be issued for each child or adult that is not properly restrained and that applies to front and back seats.
“We need everyone to buckle up at all times, in every seat,” stated Nizer. “You can help save the life of our most precious passengers, our children, by properly using a car seat or a booster. Adults who buckle up send a strong, positive message by being good role models.”
For a list of upcoming seat check events and more information about child passenger safety, please visit www.mdkiss.org or contact Maryland Kids in Safety Seats at 800-370-SEAT.
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Note: Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving, while also promoting seat belt use. For information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit www.towardzerodeathsmd.com.