SCDPS urges proper use of child safety seats | Families
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) is reminding parents and caregivers just how important it is to have their children restrained in properly installed child passenger safety seats through a series of billboards that have been placed around the state. Last year, nine children under the age of six were killed and another 9,300 injured in motor vehicle collisions in South Carolina.
“Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 12 years old,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “Many of those tragedies could have been prevented if children had been restrained properly. We encourage parents and caregivers to take advantage of these free safety seat check events.”
This effort to educate parents coincides with this month’s National Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week, which runs September 16 through September 22. As part of the campaign, parents and caregivers are being encouraged to have the installation of child restraints checked at local child seat fitting stations or safety seat check events. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, through a grant from SCDPS, is conducting a CPS Technician training class in Sumter during CPS Week and will hold a child safety seat inspection from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday, September 21, 2012, at Jones Chevrolet, 1230 Broad Street in the City of Sumter. Additionally, during CPS Week, child safety seat check events are planned in the following cities:
- Rock Hill: September 17th, 9 a.m.-10 a.m., Piedmont EMS Headquarters, 1065 Heckle Boulevard
- Columbia: September 19th, 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, 7 Richland Medical Park
- Walterboro: September 21st, 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., Rizer Chevrolet, 351 N. Jefferies Boulevard
- Charleston: September 22nd, 10 a.m. until Noon, Lowe’s, 3125 Glenn McConnell Parkway
- Clover: September 22nd, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Fred Caldwell Chevrolet, Main Street
- Greer: September 22nd, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Bradshaw Automotive, 14000 East Wade Hampton Blvd.
- St. George: September 22nd, 9 a.m. until Noon, Jim Bilton Chevrolet, Highway 78 and I-95
“Every parent and caregiver needs to make sure children of all ages are safely restrained for every ride in a motor vehicle – even if it’s just a short trip to the grocery store,” said Phil Riley, Director of the SCDPS Office of Highway Safety. “We urge everyone responsible for transporting children to ensure the child is using proper restraints for their age and weight. That could mean using a booster seat.”
The statewide CPS billboard campaign features babies posing the questions: “Is my car seat installed correctly?” and “Do you know the child passenger safety law?” The messages also promote buckleupsc.com, a SCDPS site that provides the law in English and Spanish and has links to other information for parents, including a list of child seat fitting stations across the state.
While the billboards focus on babies, SCDPS also encourages parents and caregivers to ensure older children are secured in the appropriate safety restraints. Though the state’s child passenger safety law currently only covers children through age 5, best practice dictates that children should be in appropriate child safety seats and/or booster seats through at least age 7.
(see attachment for summary of the law)
The penalty for violating the state child passenger law is a $150 fine. In 2011, the SC Highway Patrol (SCHP) issued 5,165 citations to motorists statewide for violations of the state’s child passenger safety law. Through September 9, 2012, troopers have issued 3,968 citations for similar violations. To further help inform parents of the law, the SCDPS Office of Highway Safety is distributing informational cards as part of the campaign. The cards, which highlight the state’s child passenger law, will be disseminated around the state through such venues as pediatrician’s offices, county health departments, schools, the State Fair and fitting stations.
Child safety seat fitting stations are located statewide – many at fire departments and Safe Kids coalitions – to provide year-round assistance by certified safety seat technicians. No citations are issued at the checks, but parents must bring children to ensure seats are fitted properly.