The Florida Highway Patrol's Occupant Protection Team
The Florida Highway Patrol is getting geared up for this year's National Child Passenger Safety Week (February 12-18) by organizing a series of child safety events all across the state, beginning with a kick-off event at the state Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday, February 12th at 10:00 AM. At the event, FHP and other safety advocates will show their support of Florida’s pending booster seat legislation (House Bill 443) while distributing information about child passenger safety.
FHP’s Occupant Protection Program Coordinator Kim Jones
teaches a local day care center owner how to properly install
child seats so she can better protect the children she transports every day.
See pictures of FHP's Occupant Protection Team in action.
If the new legislation becomes law, it will amend Florida’s current child restraint law to include protection of child passengers up to age eight by requiring them to ride in booster seats. "Based on the clear and compelling evidence that children ride safer in vehicles when properly restrained, the Florida Highway Patrol supports legislation that requires motorists in Florida to secure child passengers in an appropriate restraint, either a child safety seat or booster seat, to help protect them in the event of a traffic crash,” stated Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.
The timing for support of this new legislation could not be better since this week is National Child Passenger Safety Week, a special week that was set aside in the early 1980’s to commemorate the passing of child restraint laws in all fifty states. During the entire week, safety advocates step up efforts to continue public education and outreach to help ensure all parents and caregivers are aware of the importance of protecting children in vehicles. It is no coincidence that National Child Passenger Safety Week occurs during the week of Valentine’s Day each year. What better way to express love and caring than to protect our most vulnerable citizens, our state’s children.
Thankfully, all 50 states in the U.S. require child safety seats be used to protect children traveling our nation’s roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, child safety seats can reduce the risk of potential injury as much as 69% in infants, 47% in children ages 1-4; and 39% for ages 4-8. Health care professionals and child safety advocates agree that the proper use of child safety seats is our best defense against the number-one killer of children ages 0-14, motor vehicle crashes.
Unfortunately, oftentimes child restraint devices are misused or improperly installed. A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that more than 80 percent of child safety seats with harness devices were critically misused in a way that might prevent the seat from properly reducing injury risk. Some car safety seat check-up events performed in the U.S. have found misuse in up to 90 percent of those seats checked.
Child Safety advocates encourage families to get their child’s safety seat checked by an expert. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) maintains a current list of all Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians in all fifty states – personnel who have been specially trained and certified to install and check child safety seats for proper use. During National Child Passenger Safety week, hundreds of agencies in all fifty states have scheduled child safety seat check points to assist the public with ensuring children are riding safely. We encourage parents and caregivers to take the time to ensure the safety of their child passengers. For more information, please visit NHTSA’s website at www.nhtsa.dot.gov.