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OSP Troopers Team With Child & Traffic Safety Advocates for "Child Passenger Safety Week" Events
Senior Trooper Amy Ford
Oregon State Police - Pendleton
Office: (541) 278-4090 ext. 4826
Senior Trooper Greg Walker
Oregon State Police - Ontario
Office: (541) 889-6469

Photograph links from Ontario event valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers were involved in safety fairs and child safety seat inspection clinics during national "Child Passenger Safety Week", September 19 - 25, providing safety information and helping to make sure children are safely restrained - every trip, every time.
OSP Senior Trooper Amy Ford and Senior Trooper Lisa Sater, both certified Child Safety Seat Technicians, participated with Safe Kids Blue Mountain during a child safety seat inspection event at the Pendleton Wal-Mart store. Twelve child safety seats, ten with children riding in them, were inspected. Eight of the 10 safety seats inspected with children were found to be incorrectly installed.
Ford noted the main problems were seat belts or latch systems not tight enough, but they also came across child safety seats that were expired or had an unknown ownership history.
"The history of the seat is important. If a parent or caregiver buys or is given a used car seat then they don't know if it came from a vehicle involved in a traffic crash. They may also not have an owner's manual or know if some of the critical seat parts may be missing," said Ford.
Senior Trooper Greg Walker helped organize an Ontario-area event where OSP joined the Malheur County Traffic Safety Coordinator, Dave Stiefvater, for a Kids and Traffic Safety Fair at the local Home Depot parking lot. Troopers and traffic safety advocates handed out safety information, coloring books, bike helmets, and displayed safety seats while explaining how they should be used to keep children safe while traveling. Several displays provided opportunities to let adults and children see some of the diverse public safety services OSP provides, including crash reconstruction and forensic / crime scene investigations.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, 8,959 lives have been saved from 1975 to 2008 by the proper use of child restraints. In 2008, among children under age 5 in passenger vehicles, an estimated 244 lives were saved by child restraint use (child safety seats and adult seat belts). Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8.

For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers are urged to refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines that determine which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:

1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.
2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).
3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall).
4. When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall) they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).

Remember: All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.