In Washington state, more children die from car crashes than from any other kind of injury. Between 2003 and 2007, a total of 61 Washington kids age 9 and under died in crashes, and 319 kids in that age range were hospitalized.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 60% of the children who are killed in crashes aren't wearing a seatbelt or riding in a car seat or booster seat.
At Seattle Children's, we have been advocating for child passenger safety for the past 10 years, with a focus on promoting booster seat use.
Booster seats reduce the risk of injury by 59% as compared to the use of seatbelts alone, according to research from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Through the Allstate Foundation's generous support of our car seat program, Seattle Children's:
- Provides low-cost booster and car seats to hospitalized patients and patients visiting the Emergency Department (ED). We also teach parents how to use the seat correctly.
- Holds quarterly community car seat checks, which are open to the public
- Offers an infant car seat class for expecting parents, taught by a certified child passenger safety expert. Expecting parents learn how to install their baby's car seat and how to safely secure the baby in the car seat. See the class flyer (PDF).
Since 2005, we have also provided low-cost or free booster seats to more than 1,500 children from low-income families in the community. With the generous support of Schuck's Auto Supply and the Seattle Mariners, we offer low-cost car or booster seats six to eight times a year at different Seattle locations of Head Start, an early childhood development program.
Advocating for Child Passenger Safety
Children's child passenger safety advocacy has been especially focused on booster seat use in children between 4 and 8 years old, or until they reach the minimum height requirement of 4 feet 9 inches. We worked with the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the Washington State Safety Restraint Coalition to form the Washington State Booster Seat Coalition in 1999.
The coalition achieved its first major success in 2000 when the state legislature passed the very first booster seat law in the country, the Anton Skeen Act, which was named for a child who died in a car crash.
More recently, Children's and the coalition supported a law that updated the booster seat requirements range to a minimum height of 4 feet 9 inches, because children under this height are not effectively protected by seatbelts.
For more information, call our community car seat line at 206-987-5999.