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Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children. So consider: In passenger cars, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.

Most parents are confident they have correctly installed their child's car seat, but 46 percent of the time, the seat has not been installed correctly. And child car seats/seat belts sometimes aren't used at all.

Next week is the annual Child Passenger Safety Week, a time to remind parents and other adults responsible for children traveling in motor vehicles of the importance of child safety seats and seat belts.

According to a news release from the Missouri Highway Patrol, 11 children younger than 8 were killed in traffic crashes, and another 1,438 were injured last year. Troopers issued citations to 1,040 drivers who failed to secure children younger than 8 years old in a child restraint/booster seat in 2020.

Among other things, Missouri law states:

- Children younger than 4 years old are required to use an appropriate child passenger restraint system.

- Children less than 40 pounds, regardless of age, must be secured in a child passenger restraint system appropriate for the child.

- Children ages 4-8 years old who weigh at least 40 pounds, but less than 80 pounds, and are shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches tall, must be secured in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat appropriate for that child.

- Children ages 8-15 must wear seat belts regardless of the type of vehicle in which they are riding or where they are seated (front or back). Like the child restraint law, this is a primary law, meaning you can be pulled over by law enforcement for noncompliance.

- Persons younger than 18 operating or riding in trucks (regardless of gross weight for which licensed) must wear seat belts.

This might sound obvious, but we recommend you purchase a quality car seat from your child, preferably a new one. (You might not know the true condition of a used one.)

If you're new to the process of child safety seats, the patrol can help. Call Troop F at 751-1000 or visit www.seatcheck.org. The patrol can provide information or even schedule a child safety seat inspection to make sure the seat is properly installed.

It's a valuable service to give you peace of mind for your child's safety.

News Tribune

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