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Police stress car seat safety

September 22, 2011
STURBRIDGE — As part of Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 18-24, certified child passenger safety technicians from the Sturbridge Police Department will be available on Saturday, Sept. 24 to inspect car seats and provide free hands-on advice from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Sturbridge Public Safety Complex.

"The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released updated car seat recommendations for children through age 12," said Sturbridge Police Chief Thomas Ford III. "We want to help you do all you can to best protect your child when traveling. During Child Passenger Safety Week, we urge all parents and caregivers to have their car seats checked by a certified technician."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury in a vehicle crash by 71 percent for children younger than one. In 2009 alone, 754 children ages 12 or younger were killed in motor vehicle accidents while riding in a passenger car or light truck, 42 percent of whom were not properly restrained.

The updated NHTSA recommendations emphasize the importance of keeping children restrained by the appropriate device for their age group. For example, children between one and three years of age should always ride in a rear-facing car seat, while children ages four through seven can ride in forward-facing car seats with a harness until they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Children between 8 and 12 should ride in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seatbelt properly, meaning the lap belt fits snugly across the upper thighs and not the stomach. Moreover, the shoulder belt should fit snugly across the shoulder and chest rather than the neck or face.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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