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Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week starts

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is reminding parents and caregivers about the importance of keeping children safe when traveling as part of National Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week, Sept. 15 -21. CPS Week is a national initiative to raise awareness about car seat use and encourages caregivers to have their children’s car seats inspected by a certified CPS technician. The week culminates on National Seat Check Saturday, Sept. 21.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half (46 percent) of car seats are misused. OHSP and NHTSA are focusing on the proper use of car seats and booster seats to reduce fatalities and injuries among children.

“Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children. Tweens, age 8 to 14, are most at risk for injury or death in a crash,” said Michael L. Prince, director of OHSP. “Children need to be buckled up every trip, every time. Parents and caregivers must know the best options and have the right resources when choosing a car seat or booster seat.”

A child should ride in a rear-facing car seat from birth to age 2, or when they reach the upper weight or height limit for the car seat. When a child outgrows their rear-facing car seat, the child should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat until at least age 5. A booster seat should then be used until a child is at least 4’9″ tall.

A new initiative this year, piloted by Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, aims to educate children ages 5-12 about riding safely in a car, focusing on the benefits of booster seats and the importance of riding in the backseat until age 13. The Tween – Back, Booster, Buckle program is a statewide program managed by CPS technicians. In Michigan, there are more than 1,000 certified CPS technicians who are trained with the latest technology and information, which they share with community members at local car seat checks.

For a list of planned car seat checks, and additional safety tips including information on the Tween – Back, Booster, Buckle program, visit www.michigan.gov/carseats.

n addition to proper car seat use, the OHSP is also raising awareness about the dangers of heatstroke. This year, there have been 40 deaths from heatstroke nationwide. For more information on ways to prevent heatstroke and for helpful tools and tips, go to: https://www.safekids.org/take-action-prevent-heatstroke#care.

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