Keeping children safe is top priority

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 13, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

Nothing endangers the safety and well-being of children more than not securing them safely in a child restraint car seat.

As we close out National Child Passenger Safety Week, which ends Sunday, we need to remember the importance of keeping our children safe when they are traveling in vehicles.

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"Whether children travel by car, bicycle, school bus, or as pedestrians, it is everyone's responsibility to make sure each child's trip is as safe as possible," said Lt. Carl Roark, commander of the Ironton Post of State Highway Patrol. "Although the use of passenger restraints for children is increasing for all age groups, traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for all children ages 6 through 15."

In 2002, more than 30,000 children aged newborn through 5 years old were involved in crashes on Ohio's roadways.

More than

92 percent of those children were in a child restraint system.

Every year, according to the National Academies' Transportation Research Board, about 800 school-age children nationwide are killed in motor vehicle crashes during normal school travel hours - weekday mornings and afternoons during school months - accounting for about 14 percent of the 5,600 child deaths that occur on the nation's roadways. Of these 800 deaths, only 2 percent are school-bus related, while 74 percent occur in private passenger vehicles and 22 percent are the result of pedestrian or bicycle accidents. More than half of all deaths of children between age 5 and 18 occur during normal school travel hours when a teenager is driving.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is be sure you know how to install your child restraint seat. Always follow manufacturer's instructions when installing a child safety seat. Serious injury or death could result if the child safety seat is not used and installed properly.

Also, have your infant carrier, car seat or booster seat inspected to assure it meets all current safety standards. Such checks are offered throughout the county periodically.

With a little effort, everyone can help make sure their child's ride is not their last.