The Central Virginian

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Is your child seat safe?

Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

The most precious thing you place in your vehicle is your child and each time that child gets inside a car they should be buckled in correctly.

Unfortunately, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages one to 13 in the United States.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles there were two unbelted injuries for children under the age of 15 in Louisa County in 2012. The good news is there were no reported fatalities.

However, there seems to be a growing trend of decreased safety belt use in Virginia. In 2008 the rate was 80.6 percent who used a seat belt, while in 2012 the rate dropped to 78.3 percent. Not a good message to send to our children and quite a safety concern.

According to Virginia’s state law, all children who are up to the age of eight should be in an appropriate car seat or booster seat. Are your children?

Children’s bodies were not made for the seat belts that are installed in vehicles. The belts often hit children in their weakest areas–stomach and neck.

On Saturday, Sept. 14, the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office conducted a free child’s seat safety check, which offered life-saving help and techniques on how to install and use car seats properly.

In 2010, the Louisa County Transportation Safety Commission created and sponsored the car seat check and were selected for a 2011 Governor’s Transportation Safety Award in the category of “Occupant Protection.”

Since the beginning of the safety checks, LCSO has checked 333 seats and have issued 10 car seats to low-income families.

During the Louisa County Board of Supervisors’ Sept. 16 meeting, Sheriff Ashland Fortune and his office was recognized for their efforts in car safety seat checks.

The LCSO and the Virginia State Police will hold car seat safety checks several times during the year. If you feel the need to have your child’s seat checked, residents can go to the Louisa Rescue Squad Station at 83 Rescue Lane in the Louisa Industrial Air Park to make sure their child’s seat is properly installed.

As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or whatever your relation to a child, we are all responsible for helping to protect the lives of innocent children.

Sometimes, protecting them is as simple as making sure they are sitting in seats that are installed correctly.

By Paula Hawthorne