September 17-23, 2017 is Child Passenger Safety Week. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council have teamed up and launched a new series of public service ads (PSAs) to urge parents and their caregivers to protect their children. The PSAs provide information on car seats based on the child’s age, height, and weight. The NHTSA shows that in 59% of cases in which car seats are used, they’re being used incorrectly.

Other Safety Facts from the NHTSA:

  • Every 33 seconds in 2013, a child under 13 was involved in an automobile accident.

  • 35% of children under 13 not buckled up–whether in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt–were killed in car crashes in 2015.

  • 248 children under the age of 5 were saved by car seats in 2015.

The NHTSA and Ad Council have plenty of information for parents and caregivers, including descriptions of the 4 types of car seats and recommendations for your child (based on age, weight, and size); a car seat finder tool with ease-of-use ratings; car seat installation tips; a car seat inspection locator, where in most cases, a certified technician will inspect your car seat free of charge; and a registration form so you can be contacted by the manufacturer for any safety concerns or recalls.

The NHTSA also provides information on a car seat’s use after it’s been involved in a crash, differentiating what would be considered a minor crash versus a major crash. The NHTSA advises to never re-use a car seat that’s been involved in a moderate to severe crash. There’s also a checklist for those considering a second-hand car seat. If you can mark even just one item off the checklist, don’t use it.

Educate yourself and others on the importance of having the right car seat as well as proper installation. Register the car seat so you’re up to date on any recalls. And lastly, set a good example. A recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows many adults don’t find a seat belt in the back seat necessary as they perceive it to be safer than the front seat. The NHTSA estimates safety belts saved 13,941 lives alone in 2015 and that if everyone buckled up, an additional 2,800 deaths could have been prevented.

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