Child car seats save lives but nearly half are misused
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Child car seats save lives but nearly half are misused

AUSTIN – Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the nation, so the Texas Department of Transportation is reminding parents that one of the most important things they can do to protect children is to properly install and use a car seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 46 percent of all child car seats are misused.

TxDOT’s “Save Me With a Seat” campaign kicks off in September to coincide with National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 18–Sept. 24, 2022. The campaign invites parents to schedule a free car seat safety check by visiting Save me with a Seat and entering their ZIP code to find the nearest TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist in their area. TxDOT offers free car seat safety checks year-round.

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.”

During September, the “Save Me With a Seat” campaign will be seen on Texas roadways as it rolls out an interactive truck with digital screens to travel across the state. The digital truck will make stops in 11 cities, appearing at community events and other high-traffic locations. While stationary, the digital truck will share “Save Me With a Seat” campaign messaging and video content to educate parents and caregivers on car seat safety. This public outreach is supported by TV and radio ads, billboards, digital media, and social media.  

With the “Save Me With a Seat” campaign, drivers are reminded 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.

In 2021, 78 children younger than 8 years old died in traffic crashes in Texas, and 22 of those were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Among children ages 8–12 in 2021, 36 died in traffic crashes, with 13 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 percent for toddlers.

“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.

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September 21, 2022