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Child passenger safety week

(U.S. Air Force graphic)

(U.S. Air Force graphic)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- According to the United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children ages 1 to 13. Often, these deaths and injuries can be avoided by proper utilization of car seats, boosters and safety belts.

During Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 13-19, many local communities provide certified child passenger safety technicians to provide education not only on how to properly use car seats, but also booster seats and seat belts for children.

Cannon has its very own safety technician (Bruce Ford, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron deputy fire chief) who can help educate Air Commandos and dependents about choosing the right car seat for their child’s needs, the importance of registering car seats with manufacturers, and what to expect if the seat becomes subject to a safety recall.

Ford is also the car seat safety inspector for the 27th Special Operations Wing and can offer insight for parents who are interested in child passenger safety.

“Many parents believe they have installed their child’s car seat correctly, but in most cases, the seat has not been correctly installed,” Ford stated. “Over the past 30 years, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories have had laws set in place requiring children to be restrained while riding in cars.”

“Most states now require children under a certain age and weight to ride in appropriate car seats or booster seats,” he continued. “Bottom line, failure to read and carefully follow the installation instructions included with a car seat, as well as those in the vehicle owner's manual, can lead to incorrect installation and expose children to the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash.”

The NHTSA notes that every 34 seconds, 1 child under age 13 is involved in a crash. From 2009 to 2013, 3,335 children under age 13 were killed and an estimated 611,000 children were injured in auto accidents. On average, nearly 2 children under age 13 were killed, and 345 children were injured every day in 2013 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans.

By comparison, in 2013, among children under the age of 5 in cars, roughly 263 lives were saved by child safety restraints. When used appropriately, child safety seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.

“Safety is a top priority for the 27th SOW, and child passenger safety does not take a back seat,” Ford said. “If you or anyone you know has questions about how to properly install car seats or secure children while riding in cars, give me a call.”

To contact Ford for additional information, call 575-784-4490.