Data shows almost half of all child car seats are misused
AUSTIN – A high-speed vehicle crash and a misused child car seat can lead to an unthinkable disaster, which is why TxDOT is encouraging parents to schedule a free car seat safety check during its annual “Save Me With a Seat” campaign.
Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the nation, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 46% of all child car seats are misused. To encourage parents to schedule a free car seat safety check, the “Save Me With a Seat” campaign is traveling the state to help Texans keep their children safe on the road. “Save Me With a Seat” will coincide with National Child Passenger Safety week which is taking place Sept. 19 – Sept. 25, 2021.
“When child car seats are used correctly, they can help reduce injuries and prevent fatalities when children are involved in a crash,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “We urge parents to schedule a car seat check today to ensure they are safely and correctly using the right car seat for their child.”
The “Save Me With a Seat” campaign will be highly visible during the month of September as a branded digital billboard truck travels across the state to make stops in 11 Texas communities. The digital truck will set-up at community events and other high-traffic locations to display messaging from the “Save Me With a Seat” campaign on lighted LED screens. The digital truck will also display video content that educates parents and caregivers on car seat safety. The public outreach campaign will be supported by TV and radio ads, billboards, digital media and social media.
TxDOT offers free car seat safety checks year-round. Parents and caregivers can visit SaveMeWithASeat.org and enter their zip code to find the nearest TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist in their area to set up an appointment or view child car seat safety tips.
As an incentive for parents who visit the website, TxDOT is hosting a free giveaway for a child car seat or booster seat. To enter, the public is invited to visit SaveMeWithASeat.org to fill out the giveaway form. The entry period for the giveaway will run from Sept. 1 – Sept. 29, 2021 with a winner announced on Sept. 30.
In 2020, 78 children younger than 8 years old died in traffic crashes in Texas, and 31 of those were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Among children ages 8-12 in 2020, 40 died in traffic crashes, with 16 of them unrestrained at the time of the crash. According to NHTSA, child car seats in passenger vehicles can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.
TxDOT reminds drivers that Texas law requires all children under 8 — unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches — to be in a car seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250. Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat, properly secured in a seat belt or safety seat.
“Save Me With a Seat” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths.