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PUBLISHED: 9:04 PM on Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Child Passenger Safety Week Feb13-19

SAFE KIDS Coalitions throughout Alaska are conducting free child car seat inspections during the week of Feb. 13-19th in observance of National Child Passenger Safety Week. In Juneau, free inspections are done on a regular basis, and people can call 321-3655 to set up a time on Tuesdays and Fridays.

At more than 120 Child Passenger Safety Week events across the country, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will perform inspections and train parents and caregivers to install and adjust their car seats properly.

"Childhood injuries are the number one killer of children ages 14 and under in Alaska. This is our opportunity to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of properly restraining each child on every ride. Think of it as a private lesson for parents in the correct use of your car seat," said Gordon Glaser, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Public Health Program Manager and child passenger safety instructor.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children under 14. Under Alaska Statute, all children under sixteen years of age must be properly secured in a child safety device until they are large enough to use a seat belt system correctly. Most children can safely fit in a seatbelt when they reach 4'9".

SAFE KIDS State Coordinator Peggy Hayashi warns "Each child must be restrained in an appropriate child safety seat or booster - whether in the family car, traveling with friends or relatives, or in a rental car or taxi."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 73 percent of all child passenger restraints - more than 80 percent of car seats and about 40 percent of booster seats - are used incorrectly. It is the driver's responsibility to make sure a child's car seat is properly installed and adjusted. In a crash, a child restrained incorrectly is 3.5 times more likely to be seriously injured than a child who is properly restrained.

Local SAFE KIDS Coalitions and Chapters, many fire departments, and other non-profit groups involved with children, provide free child car seat inspections throughout the year. To find a car seat inspection site or a trained certified technician near you, contact your local SAFE KIDS Coalition, or visit www.safekids.org/. An inspection is free and usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Bring your child and the owner's manuals for your vehicle and your car seat.

Alaska SAFE KIDS Coalitions and Chapters are part of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the first and only national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury. More than 300 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico make up the Campaign.


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