Harshman: Is your child in the right car seat?

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 1-13 years old.

Cpl. Marshall Harshman

In 2017, an average of two children per day were killed while riding in motor vehicles while an estimated 376 were injured every day in 2017.  Of the 675 children that were killed more than one third of them were not in a car seat or properly restrained.

The above statistics are from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Traffic Safety Marketing, from trafficsafetymarketing.gov/sites/tsm.nhtsa.dot.gov/files/14101a-cps2019-proclamation-061319-v1.docx.

Sept. 15-21 is National Child Passenger Safety Week. The Apache Junction Police Department promotes the National Child Passenger Safety Week campaign in an effort to educate parents and caregivers about National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s car seat recommendations for children from birth through age 12, as well as convince parents to seek more information on NHTSA’s car seat recommendations.  

If you need your car seat checked, Apache Junction Police Department will be hosting a Child Passenger Safety Event on Saturday, Oct. 5. This event is by appointment only. To schedule an appointment for a car seat inspection, contact the community resource office at 480-474-5442. Below are guidelines for increasing the safety of your child passengers: 

  • Keep children rear-facing until at least 3 years old. 
  • Keep children in a harnessed seat until they fit properly in a booster seat and are mature enough to sit properly in the belt 
  • Keep children in booster seats until they fit properly in an adult seatbelt. The seatbelt should sit low on the hips, touching the thighs. The shoulder belt should cross the middle of the shoulder, and the child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when s/he is sitting all the way back. 
  • Children should ride in the back seat until at least 13 years old. 
  • Wear your seatbelt, and put down the phone while driving. Kids learn from the adults around them. 

Arizona state law requires all children up to 8 years old be kept in a child safety seat or booster seat. Booster seats are required for children over 5 years old and under 8 years old, who are not taller than 4 feet 9 inches.  

For more information, go to Safercar.gov/therightseat to find out for sure if you have your child in the right car seat. The site also has important information on car seat use and installation such as How-to videos, recall notifications, and NHTSA’s car seat ease-of-use ratings. 

If you have any questions about this article, or other public safety issues, call the AJPD community resource coordinator at 480-474-5442.

Cpl. Marshall Harshman
Community & Media Liaison Officer
Apache Junction Police Department 

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