DOT Plans Island-Wide Car Seat Safety Checks
As part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, the State of Hawai’i Department of Transportation, along with county police departments and child passenger safety advocates, have come together to raise awareness of keeping children in Hawai’i safe.
“Every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash,” said Ford Fuchigami, HDOT Director. “Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, and having the right car seats installed and used in the right way can make all the difference.”
In Hawai’i, children under the age of four are required to ride in a child safety seat. In addition, law states that children four through seven years old must ride in a child passenger restraint or booster seat.
Those who violate these laws are sent to court, where if convicted, may be required to attend a four-hour class and pay a fine between $100 and $500.
According to the DOT, age is not the indicator of whether or not a child is ready to be moved out of a booster seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that around 24 percent of children ages four through seven were prematurely moved to seat belts and nine percent were unrestrained altogether.
Along with that information, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised that children should ride in rear-facing seats until they are two-years-old.
“We can and need to do better to protect our keiki,” said Fuchigami. “Get your car seats checked. Even if you think your child is safe, check again. Statistics show that 59 percent of car seats are misused.”
Three Big Island free car seat check events are scheduled over the weekend.
On Saturday, Sept. 19 inspections will be conducted by certified child passenger safety technicians from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Hilo Target, Waimea Fire Station, and Lanihau Center in Kona.
To learn more about child car safety or to learn about additional car seat checks, visit the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition Hawai’i website.