MDOT brings awareness to National Seat Check Saturday

MDOT brings awareness to National Seat Check Saturday

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation

With motor vehicle crashes being a leading killer of children under the age of 13, it is critical that parents use child restraints that are age and weight appropriate in order to reduce these deaths. Making sure car seats and booster seats are the right size, in addition to wearing seat belts at all times, can ensure safety for young passengers. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) joins with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to promote National Seat Check Saturday.

One child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash every 34 seconds, according to the NHTSA. Often, the incorrect or nonexistent use of restraints contributed to fatalities in these crashes. MDOT would like to bring attention to this problem on National Seat Check Saturday (September 19, 2015) by urging parents to be informed of the appropriate car restraints their children need.  No parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to their children's safety.

In 2013, among children under the age of 5 in cars, an estimated 263 lives were saved by child restraints.  An additional 55 children could have survived if car seats were appropriately used 100 percent of the time.   With proper use of age and size appropriate car restraints, families can travel safer and protect their children.

MDOT recommends adhering to the following safety tips for child car safety:

  • Thoroughly read all instructions provided by the manufacturer when installing the car seat to ensure correct installation.
  • Register car seats with the manufacturer to ensure notification of potential recalls.  
  • Keep children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats—only when a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat is he/she ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
  • After outgrowing car seats, place children in booster seats until they’re big enough to fit seat belts properly without help from a booster seat.
  • Insist all children under the age of 13 always ride in the back seat.

When discussing car restraint safety, it's common to focus on smaller children more heavily than older kids. However, this safety concern is important to the security of older children as well. From 2009-2013, there were 1,552 "tween" passenger vehicle occupants in the 8-14 age group killed in crashes nationally.  It is important for parents to remember that all children under the age of 13 should always ride in the back seat and all passengers should be wearing seatbelts at all times.  The life of a child is not worth the risk, so even "tween" passengers should avoid riding unrestrained or in the front seat.

For more information and resources on child car safety and restraints, visit