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Child Passenger Safety Week Highlights Need for Childcare Providers to Safely Transport Children

February 07, 2003

As part of Child Passenger Safety Week (February 9-15), Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the Washington State Booster Seat Coalition are reminding childcare providers in Washington State to always use appropriate restraints, including booster seats, when transporting children for field trips or other activities.

As part of Child Passenger Safety Week (February 9-15), Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the Washington State Booster Seat Coalition are reminding childcare providers in Washington State to always use appropriate restraints, including booster seats, when transporting children for field trips or other activities.

Seattle, Wash.: As part of Child Passenger Safety Week (February 9-15), Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the Washington State Booster Seat Coalition are reminding childcare providers in Washington State to always use appropriate restraints, including booster seats, when transporting children for field trips or other activities. Parents are encouraged to use booster seats for children until they are at least 4'9" tall, about 80 pounds, or eight years old. Child Passenger Safety Week is a national effort designed to draw attention to ways to keep young passengers safe in motor vehicles.

Washington state's Child Restraint Law (The Anton Skeen Act) requires that:
· Babies must ride rear-facing until 1 year old and at least 20 pounds;
· Children must ride in car seats until 4 years old or 40 pounds;
· Children between 4 and 6 years old or 40 to 60 pounds must use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt when riding in a motor vehicle. Booster seats raise the child up so that the lap and shoulder belts fit properly, providing a safe transition from a car seat to an adult seat belt.
*Safety experts recommend that children over 6 years old should continue to use a booster seat until they at are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and the vehicle lap and shoulder belt fits correctly.

Children ages 4 to 8 years are particularly vulnerable to motor vehicle injuries. Although they make up 43 percent of child passengers, they sustain 55 percent of child passenger injuries.

"We see too many unintended injuries to children each year because they were not properly restrained," said Dr. Mark Del Beccaro, associate chief of emergency services at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center. "Anyone caring for children – not just parents – needs to be diligent about using the appropriate car or booster seat to help prevent injuries and save lives."

The number of children in childcare centers is growing. According to U.S. census data, approximately 7 million children age five and younger are in some form of childcare. Here in Washington state, the number of children in childcare centers is growing, as well. In early 2000, an estimated 164,300 children were in licensed childcare, about 70 percent in childcare centers and about 30 percent in licensed family homes.

Childcare providers and parents use many approaches to adhere to the law's requirements. Some parents leave their booster seats with the childcare provider when they drop their child off; some child care providers supply booster seats themselves; other childcare providers have simply chosen not to go on field trips at all. In a recent study conducted by Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and the Booster Seat Coalition, childcare providers identified a lack of booster seats and the resources to purchase them as barriers to complying with the law. Parents could consider giving a booster seat to their childcare provider for use on field trip.

"Parents need to talk with their child care provider about what arrangements are in place for safely transporting their child," said Julie Tiersma, a licensed childcare provider. "It is crucial for parents and child care providers to work together to ensure that all children are properly restrained in the appropriate car or booster seat when they go on field trips."

Washington state data shows more children are using booster seats, but that there is still a long ways to go in ensuring that children are buckled up properly. In September 2000, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission conducted a baseline study that revealed only 19 percent of children between 40 and 80 pounds were using booster seats. A second study, conducted in 2002, showed an increase in booster seat use of 28 percent by children 40 to 80 pounds, bringing the total percentage to 47 percent.

"We've made great strides over the past two years, increasing the number of children riding in booster seats. We still have lots of room for improvement," said John Moffat, director, Washington Traffic Safety Commission. "We know that parents and childcare providers want to keep their children safe, that is why a booster seat is required. More than half the kids out there are still unprotected."

Coupons are available for $10 off any car and booster seats costing more than $30 at Babies "R" Us and Toys "R" Us stores and expire February 28th. To receive a coupon, call the Safety Restraint Coalition at 1-800-BUCK-L-UP or the Children's Resource Line at 206-987-2500 (select option 4). For more information about child passenger safety and booster seats, visit www.800BUCKLUP.org or www.boosterseat.org.

About Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center

As both a community hospital for greater Seattle and the pediatric referral center for the Pacific Northwest, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center provides directly or in partnership with others, excellent pediatric care, education and research programs. Children's is an advocate on behalf of health care needs of children at local, state and national levels. Children's provides health care appropriate for the special needs of children regardless of race, sex, creed, ethnicity or disability. Financial assistance is provided based upon family need and hospital resources

About the Washington State Booster Seat Coalition

Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center, the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the Safe Kids Coalition and the Safety Restraint Coalition have joined in a campaign to increase the use of belt-positioning booster seats among preschoolers and young children 4 to 8 years old. A second goal is to establish a multi-faceted public education program to serve as a model for communities across the state.

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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