Our Opinion: Be proactive with child safety seats

News Tribune editorial

Did you know motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children?

And, did you know an estimated 73 percent of child safety restraints are used incorrectly?

If not, you may want to consider complying with Missouri law governing proper installation and use of child passenger restraints.

The Jefferson City Police Department will be participating from Sunday through Sept. 21 in an aggressive Child Passenger Safety Seat enforcement campaign.

State law requires children under age 8 to be in an appropriate child safety or booster seat. Children who are weigh 80 pounds or more and or at least 4-feet, 9-inches tall may be placed in a properly attached and secured safety belt.

According to Jefferson City Police Chief Roger Schroeder, consistent child safety seat and safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce serious injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.

The enforcement effort is designed to enhance compliance with the law and children’s safety, but motorists are encouraged to be proactive.

Car seat safety inspections are offered at each of Jefferson City’s Fire Department stations from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. The department invites motorists to stop at the nearest station for an inspection.

The department’s web site says: “All fire personnel are trained to Carseat Technician levels and will train the parents to inspect their own car seats as well.”

Remember the ubiquitous “Baby on Board” car decals of the mid-1980s? The perplexing warning was to avoid accidents — which, by definition, are unavoidable — involving vehicles displaying the decal. The unspoken message was crashing non-designated vehicles, somehow, was more acceptable.

The safety of children is too important to rely on defying the odds, dubious decals or improperly installed of safety seats.

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