The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Georgia Department of Public Health are reminding all parents and caregivers that Child Passenger Safety Week is the perfect time to make sure their child is riding in a properly installed safety or booster seat.

Local health departments, sheriff’s offices, police departments, Safe Kids chapters and other partners will host free car seat checks and classes across the state during CPS week, from Sept. 15 until National Seat Check Saturday on Sept. 21.

“Child passenger safety seats are designed to protect our youngest passengers in the event of a crash, but these seats cannot work as designed when they are not installed correctly,” said Allen Poole, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety director. “We want to ensure all the children who are under eight years of age are riding in a correctly installed safety seat that is appropriate for their age and size.”

Georgia state law requires child passengers to be restrained in a car seat or booster seat appropriate for their height and weight until the age of 8.

Research shows car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% with infants and 54% with toddlers in passenger vehicles. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data estimates 16 lives were saved by proper restraint use in Georgia alone of passengers age four and under in 2017.

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seat.

Once a child outgrows the rear-facing-only “infant” car seat, they should travel in a rear-facing “convertible” or all-in-one car seat. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing size limits, the child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat with harness, children should be placed in booster seats until they’re the right size to use seatbelts safely. If children are under 13 years old, they should always sit in the back seat.

Georgia parents and caregivers can also visit https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/campaigns/child-safety-seat-fitting-locations/ to find a fitting station near them where they can have their car seats checked.

For more information, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.

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