February 12-18 is Child Passenger Safety Week

The Scott County Safe Communities Coalition reminds parents not to skip a step when it comes to properly securing children in a vehicle. Child Passenger Safety Week is February 12-18.

In Minnesota, based on 2004 safety clinic observations, 78 percent of child safety seats were used incorrectly. The three most common mistakes are incorrect restraint for the child, loose harness, and loose installation of the restraint in the vehicle. Children must graduate into different car seats based on their age and size:

• Children up to at least one year of age and 20 pounds should be in rear-facing car seats.

• Toddlers over one year old and between 20-40 pounds should use a forward-facing seat with harness straps.

• Children over age 4 and over 40 pounds who are less than 4 foot 9 inches should use booster seats in combination with seat belts.

• All children age 12 and under should ride in the backseat.

The Scott County Safe Communities Coalition is stressing the importance of booster seats. In Minnesota only 30 percent of 4-8 year olds use booster seats. Booster seats are important because they help seat belts fit children properly. Poor seat belt fit can contribute to serious injury, ejection and death in vehicle crashes.

Offices will issue citations to drivers not in compliance with Minnesota’s child restraint ad seat belt use laws. Fines range from $25 to $50 plus court costs.

For complete information on child passenger safety, car seat clinic schedules, and locations throughout Minnesota, and child restraint and seat belt laws, visit www.buckleup

kids.state.mn.us You may also contact Scott County Public Health at 952-496-8338 for more information.

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