Keep Kids Buckled Up!
Thanks to a car seat giveaway program, 100 Latino children in North Carolina now have proper car safety seats. A State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship grant allowed the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation (NCHSF) to donate 100 car seats to Latino families in Durham and Raleigh. The beneficiaries ranged from soon-to-be-born babies to four year olds. With the help of La Ley 96.9 FM and Curtis Media Group, four live radio remote events were held in November and December. The car seats were raffled and the seats were installed in the families’ cars by trained bilingual technicians. The technicians also worked with families to explain how to properly install the seat and when the child would need to graduate to a different type of seat. El Pueblo, Inc., a statewide Latino organization, participated in all four events, providing trained technicians as well as important car safety seat pamphlets and information in Spanish.
Proper seatbelt use is critical for children. The consequences of failing to properly buckle up can be deadly. Sadly, in December 2009 two children died after they were thrown from their car in a railroad crossing crash in Durham. Witnesses say the children were not wearing seat belts. A six year old who was not properly restrained died on Christmas Day when her family’s SUV overturned on 1-95.
North Carolina law requires drivers to make sure that all children younger than 16 years old are buckled up.
The Law in North Carolina:
- Children younger than 8 years of age AND lighter than 80 pounds must be secured in child restraint devices that meet federal safety standards and are appropriate for each child’s height and weight. (Seat belts are required for adults and other child riders).
- In cars with front passenger seat air bags, children younger than 5 years and lighter than 40 pounds must ride in the back seat unless the restraint system is designed for use with air bags.
- Violators of the child passenger safety law are fined $25 plus court costs and two driver’s license points (but no insurance points).
What Safety Experts Recommend:
- Children younger than 2 should ride in rear-facing infant seats. After age 2, they should use front-facing harness restraints until they outgrow the harnesses – usually when they reach about 40 pounds.
- Belt-positioning booster seats with combined lap and shoulder belts can be used for larger children between 40 and 80 pounds. Children can switch to seat belts when they’re big enough to wear them correctly, often around 80 pounds in weight and 4 feet 9 inches in height. Tucking a shoulder belt under the shoulder or behind the back is dangerous and illegal.
- No child or adult should ride unbelted in the back of a van, station wagon or truck bed.
To find out more information about child passenger safety visit: www.buckleupnc.org
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Last updated: January 2011