Are Your Kids Safe In The Car?

By Haley Burton

September 19, 2012 Updated Sep 19, 2012 at 6:20 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Is your child as safe as they can be when riding in the car?

National Child Passenger Safety Week is September 16 through September 22. Police agencies are uniting in an ongoing effort to help keep kids safe by ensuring they are properly secured in the car.

"Statewide we are beefing up patrols. Here in Zone 2, we're going to a couple stationary checkpoints. The patrols are going to be out there observing and looking for children who are not either in their safety seats or unbuckled properly," said Sgt. Chad Buckley, New York State Police.

New York State law mandates that children are required to use a child safety restraint up to eight years old.

"A child that is unbuckled or a child that is not buckled safely in a child seat is twice as likely to be injured in a crash," said Sgt. Buckley.

Safety experts recommend that expectant parents get and install a rear-facing child safety seat in their motor vehicle at least one month prior to the expected due date of their child.

Jessica Barnes of Walton is Mom to quadruplet four year olds. She also is expecting a baby girl in early October. She has already gotten an infant car seat for her new child and had it installed. Her other daughters sit in booster seats and five point harness seats.

"Safety is the first thing on my mind, especially when I am leaving with the girls. I travel a long distance to get to their dentist appointments in Endicott," said Barnes, "I want to make sure they are safe."

Parents and caregivers who need help installing a child safety seat or have questions can get hands-on assistance by making an appointment with a certified child passenger safety (CPS) technician or attending a child safety seat check-up event.

Endicott Police has a fitting station that is open every Tuesday at the Fire Department. They offer certified child passenger safety inspections by appointment.

"There's a couple of things that are really important to look for. One is to make sure the seat is appropriate for the child's size, weight and height. The other is to make sure it is installed correctly," said Sgt. Laurie Sorensen, Endicott Police Department.

Sorensen says the issue they run into often is people having incorrect installations.

"I would say probably 80 to 90 percent of the car seats that come into us are installed incorrectly in one fashion or another," said Sorensen.

They check to make sure the following things are correct: the installation of the seat belt, the harness and angle of the seat.

"As a parent your child's safety is the number one priority. There are websites that give you information that tells you the regulations of age, the weight requirements, the recommendations for rear-facing and forward facing and different safety precautions you can take," said Malina Ostrander, Port Crane, whose daughter is ten months old.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible. At a minimum, infants should ride rear-facing in a semi-reclined position until they are two years old and weigh more than 20 pounds.

"National Seat Check Saturday" on September 22 provides numerous car seat check events throughout New York State.

New York State Police are hosting the following events on September 22:

Child Safety Seat Check - Delaware County
3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Little Lambs Children's Center, 383 Delaware County Highway 11, Oneonta, NY 13820
Agency: Delaware County Public Health
Contact: Heather Warner at (607)832-5200

Child Safety Seat Check - Cortland County
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cortland City Youth Bureau, 35 Port Watson Street, Cortland, NY 13045
Agency: Cortland County Health Department
Contact: Rebecca Canzano at (607) 758-5509

Child Safety Seat Check - Chenango County
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chenango County Sheriff's Department, 279 County Road 46, Norwich, NY 13815
Agency: Family Enrichment Network
Contact: Donna Adams at dadams@familyenrichment.cc or Melanie Manwarren at mmanwarren@familyenrichment.cc

Child Safety Seat Check - Broome County
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Burlington Coat Factory at the Oakdale Mall, Johnson City, NY
Agency: New York State Police, Broome County Sheriff's Office, and Broome County Health Department
Contact: Trooper Peter Grunder at (607) 561-7605