Laredo declares Child Passenger Safety Week

The City of Laredo proclaimed Child Passenger Safety Week Thursday along with the nation on the vital need for more information to keep children safe on the roadways.

This came ahead of Saturday’s National Car Seat Check Day, which serves as a national celebration to check car seat safety and promote greater awareness.

On Saturday, families are invited from 8:30 to 11:30 am at the Texas Department of Transportation in Laredo for free child safety seat inspections by certified technicians. Families are strongly encouraged to attend, but will need to have their children with them to properly inspect the seat. No registration is required, and the service will be free.

According to the US Department of Transportation, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death among children. On average, two children under the age of 13 were killed and approximately 374 were injured every day in 2019 while traveling in cars, SUVs, vans and vans. Additionally, 608 child passengers died in traffic accidents in 2019.

Of these, 38% were without restrictions in the vehicle. According to the proclamation, read by Councilman Ruben Gutierrez, 46% of all child safety seats are used incorrectly. Deaths and injuries can be prevented through the proper use of child seats, adding that families should ensure that all members are buckled up and that the car seat is properly positioned.

Texas law requires that all children under the age of 8, unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches, must be in a child safety seat when riding in a passenger vehicle. Also, all children under the age of 13 must ride in the back seat with a seat belt. By refusing this, a fine of up to $250 can be served, but more importantly one is risking the life of a child.

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During the week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages families to check car seats and booster seats to make sure they are the right type of seat for your child’s age and size, that the seat fits them well and is positioned correctly. installed in the vehicle.

With a majority of Hispanic residents in Laredo, the NHTSA added that there is a higher risk for children in minority groups with 41% of Hispanic children not wearing a seat belt during a traffic crash based on 2019 data. They are second only to black children with 54% and 10% more than American Indian children. The agency claims that, by comparison, murdered white children were not subject 26% of the time.

Additionally, from 2016 to 2020, there were 1,721 “tweens” (ages 8 to 14) who were killed in passenger vehicles, the NHTSA said, adding that in 2020 alone, the 8 to 12-year-old age group had the highest number . number of deaths, 216, among children in passenger vehicles, followed by the 4-7 year old age group with 207.

Humberto Gonzalez, Assistant District Engineer for Laredo with the Texas Department of Transportation, said the goal is to continue the awareness of buckling up kids every day. He said it’s hard to say how difficult it is for the loss of a child’s life to affect the life of a family, and reiterated that all families need to pay attention.

In Laredo, Gonzalez said there were nine passenger vehicle crashes resulting in six serious injuries and four deaths of children under the age of 8 in 2021. That same year, six vehicle crashes resulted in four serious injuries and two deaths of children under the age of 8. between 8 and 12 years. .

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“I have two children in that age range, so (you start) taking that personally,” he said. “We all have children or relatives, grandchildren, cousins, nephews or nieces at that age, so it really starts with all of us spreading that message and making sure people are aware of these staggering statistics.”

Gonzalez said some common problems with car seats include installation too loose, harness straps in the wrong slots, harness straps too loose, incorrect chest clip placement and wearing the wrong seat belt.

Residents can ask the Department of Transportation for help with classes on proper car seat use.

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