Committed to keeping Hawaii’s keiki safe when on our roadways, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), four county police departments, and child passenger safety advocates will participate in National Child Passenger Safety Week.
During Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 13-19) and throughout the year, Hawaii’s child passenger safety technicians are dedicated to helping parents and caregivers learn how to correctly install child safety seats and properly buckle up their keiki, whether it’s in car seats, booster seats or when using the vehicle’s seat belts.
“Every 34 seconds a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash,” said Ford Fuchigami, HDOT Director. “Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, and having the right car seats installed and used in the right way can make all the difference.”
Hawaii’s Child Passenger Restraint Law requires children less than 4 years of age to ride in a child safety seat. Children 4 through 7 years old must ride in a child passenger restraint or booster seat. Violators are required to appear in court. If convicted, violators are required to attend a four-hour class and may be assessed a penalty of $100-$500, depending on the number of offenses.
However, just because a child has reached the age of 7 doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is ready to move out of a booster seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 24 percent of children ages 4 through 7 were prematurely moved to seat belts and 9 percent were unrestrained altogether.
In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now advising that children ride rear-facing until at least the age of 2. To educate the public about this recommendation and Hawaii’s child restraint law, the HDOT has created a new public service announcement that began airing on television statewide and in movie theaters earlier this month. The child passenger safety campaign is 100-percent federally funded.
“We can and need to do better to protect our keiki,” stressed Fuchigami. “Get your car seats checked. Even if you think your child is safe, check again. Statistics show that 59 percent of car seats are misused.”
Parents and caregivers can get their seats checked at free events in all four counties, as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week. The inspections will be conducted by certified child passenger safety technicians who have been trained to provide instruction on how to choose the right car seats, how to install them and how to use them correctly. Hawaii has more than 150 certified technicians from all walks of life, including firefighters, law enforcement officers, medical professionals and parents – all with the same passion and goal, keeping our keiki as safe as possible while riding on our roadways.
National Seat Check Saturday is being held on Sept. 19 at the following locations and times:
Maui Marketplace, Kahului
270 Dairy Road
10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All parents and caregivers are invited to attend these free events.
Child Passenger Safety Week is sponsored by NHTSA.
For more information on child car safety, as well as how to find other car seat check events, visit the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition (KIPC) Hawaii website at www.kipchawaii.org or www.safercar.gov/parents.