HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Certified Child Passenger Safety technicians will offer free car seat safety checks and educational materials to parents and caregivers at Hillsborough Fire Co. No. 2, 375 Route 206 on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 3-6:30 p.m. and again on Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m

The safety checks are in conjunction with Child Passenger Safety Week and National Seat Check Saturday. They will include instruction on how to install and use car seats correctly. Technicians will also help determine if your child is in the right seat for their age and size, and will explain the importance of registering car seats with their manufacturers so that parents and caregivers can be notified if there is a recall.

“As a parent or caregiver, we know you have a long list of things you do to show your children just how much you love them, and one of the top priorities is keeping them safe,” said Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson. “That should always include using the right car seat, booster seat, or seat belt for your child. But more than that, it’s also ensuring that your child is safe with whoever they ride with, whether it is a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend.”

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Between 2013 and 2017, there were 3,318 children killed while riding in passenger vehicles; tragically, more than half were minorities, with the majority of that group being Hispanic, according to Robertson 

“No parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to a child’s safety. That’s why we’re hosting this car seat check event on National Seat Check Saturday. Parents: Don’t think you know — know you know — that your kids are secure in their car seats ,and are in the right seats for their ages and sizes,” Robertson said.  

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, and the latest research from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that nearly half of car seats are misused. Robertson added that using age- and size-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce these deaths.

“More than one-third of children 12 and younger who died in crashes from 2013 to 2017 while riding in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs were unbuckled. Sadly, the data shows that the fatality rate for unbuckled minorities is much higher. Two out of five Hispanic children 12 and younger who died in crashes from 2013 to 2017 were unbuckled. Many of those kids could have survived if they had been buckled up,” Robertson said. 

National Seat Check Saturday is part of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from Sept. 20-26, 2020. The week is dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers about the importance of correctly choosing, installing, and using car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Parents will also be reminded of the importance of registering car seats with their manufacturers so they can be notified in the event of a recall.

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by the particular seats. It’s the best way to keep them safe. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be placed in a booster seat until they’re tall enough to fit in a seat belt properly. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat. 

All parents and caregivers are invited to attend this free event.

Information on child car seat safety, is available oline at www.nhtsa.gov/therightseat.