Submitted to OnFocus – During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are concentrating on many priorities at once, including how to keep their kids safe and healthy. September’s focus on child passenger safety provides parents an opportunity to place a life-saving emphasis on child safety in cars by making sure their child’s car seat is used and installed correctly.
Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury for American children, and correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 60 percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly.
With in-person programming not possible in many areas due to the current pandemic, Aspirus Wausau Hospital and Safe Kids Marathon County are offering parents and caregivers free virtual learning opportunities during Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept 20-26) and beyond.
“We’re adjusting the way we provide child passenger safety education, so we can continue to provide parents with life-saving safety information from certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) during the pandemic,” said Amanda Tabin, Safe Kids & Injury Prevention Coordinator at Aspirus. “These new online resources will help caregivers learn safest practices and to check for common and easy-to-fix car seat mistakes that could save a child’s life.”
Some of the most common car seat mistakes include:
- Using a damaged or expired car seat
- Using a seat inappropriate for the child’s age, height and weight
- Having an incorrect recline angle on rear-facing car seats
- Not using the tether strap when installing forward-facing car seats
- Harnessing mistakes such as loose straps or chest clip in wrong place
- Moving to the next car seat / restraint type too early
Aspirus’s first live, one-hour virtual class will focus on car seat safety for newborns and infants in rear-facing seats. The class will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22, and is scheduled once per month after that. Advance registration is required. Additional classes for forward-facing car seats and booster seats will start in October. All classes will be taught by a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). To register for a free virtual class, visit: https://www.aspirus.org/classes-events.
For those unable to attend a live virtual class, additional resources have been added to our website for parents, caregivers, and community partners to access any time that works for them. Expert videos from Safe Kids Worldwide and other resources are now available at www.aspirus.org/safe-kids.
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