Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children. Between 2013 to 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) reported 3,313 children under the age of 13 died in car crashes. In 2017 alone, over 40 percent of children killed were not buckled in properly.

Hundreds of parents and guardians every year skip the vital step of securing their children properly in the car. Most are simple mistakes, and without the knowledge that an error has been made. To help spread awareness and prevent further child fatalities on the road, the N.H.T.S.A. sponsors the annual Child Passenger Safety Week every September. From September 15 to 21, the N.H.T.S.A. along with countless other national organizations, launch active safety campaigns geared towards parents and guardians on the importance of car seat safety.

Long Island families can access a bulk of community resources and events this week to assist them in properly choosing and installing their children’s car seats. To end the week, Saturday, September 21 is National Seat Check Day. Residents can visit several inspection stations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties to gain peace of mind that their little ones are safely secured.

All New York parents can help spread awareness this week by staying informed on the facts. To help you get started, we’ve compiled some of the most crucial facts parents need to know about car seat safety.

Car Seat Mistakes To Avoid

Safe Kids Worldwide reports that for every 33 seconds, a child under the age of 13-years-old is involved in a car accident. Car seats are vital to protecting our children in the case of an accident, but only if they are being used properly. Unfortunately, most parents are not aware when they are making deadly car seat errors, leading to an increased chance of life-threatening injuries every time their child rides in the car.

An article published in Fatherly highlights the seven most common car seat mistakes parents are making that could cause serious harm:

  1. Installing Car Seats Improperly:Common installation mistakes include wrong angles, using the wrong belt, not securing seat correctly, not following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Turning Car Seat Too Soon:According to new recommendations released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should keep their kids rear-facing as long as possible. Yet, a number of parents turn their kids around well before just because it’s easier.
  3. Not Fastening Seat Top Tether:The top tether of the car seat can keep children facing forward from toppling in a car accident. Fatherly reports more than 64% of parents don’t even use the top tether, and 50% aren’t attaching it correctly.
  4. Not Tightening Shoulder Harness Correctly:Leaving space in the harness is extremely dangerous and can cause your child to slip out of the seat and be ejected from the car. There should be no slack in the shoulder harness.
  5. Not Taking Off Winter Coats:Winter coats can cause a child to be loosely secured in a seat, even if it appears the straps are tight. There are an extra four inches of space between the coat and the child that can cause a child to fly out easily.
  6. Not Using The Right Seat:If children are in a seat that is too big or too small, they can be seriously injured in a car accident without the proper protection for their body.
  7. Missing Recalls:Not sending in the registration form for your car seat can cause parents to miss important safety recalls for their products that could put your kids in danger.

The Worst Car Seats To Use

Car seats are expensive. The cost alone of a modern-day car seat is enough to hinder a parent’s choice to purchase a new one. But holding on to subpar car seats or choosing cheaper options may not be a safer alternative. Here are the types of car seats parents should avoid:

  • Expired Seats:Car seats have expiration dates for a reason. According to Consumer Reports, car seat components break down over time. This can lead to safety features failing in the case of a crash. Car seats that are typically over six-years-old should be replaced with newer models.
  • Car Seats That Have Been In Accidents:Car accidents apply a large amount of force on objects inside the car, including the seats. Safety experts recommend replacing car seats after an accident due to the stress placed on the safety components. Keeping seats after an accident could result in life-threatening injuries or the product to fail in a crash.
  • Second-Hand Seats:  Parents who buy second-hand seats do not know the history of the product. These models may have been subject to recalls, accidents, and other types of mistreatment that compromise their integrity and durability. The cost reduction is not worth the risk.

Walmart Trade-In Event

Parents who are looking to purchase a new car seat or upgrade their current models will be excited about Walmart’s new Car Seat Trade-In Event. From now until September 30, Walmart will award customers a $30 gift card that can be used on any item in-store or online. The incentive is perfect to use on the next car seat you need for your little one. Here’s how to participate:

  • Bring your car seat to the Customer Service counter from September 16 to September 30.
  • Leave the car seat at the counter and walk away with a $30 Walmart gift card.
  • There are only two-trade-ins allowed per household (booster seats are not eligible).

For more information on the trade-in program, view Walmart’s policies here

Long Island Child Passenger Safety Events

Parents on Long Island should take full advantage of local resources and events available during Child Passenger Safety Week, including participating in National Seat Check Saturday. Making sure your child’s safety seat is properly secured and appropriate for their size could save their lives and protect them from permanent or disabling injuries.

Nassau and Suffolk Counties both offer multiple sites for car seat installation assistance. Parents are required to make appointments before to ensure they have enough time to ask all the questions needed for their child’s safety. Here is a list of Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations on Long Island highlighted by the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee:

Nassau County

Nassau County Traffic Safety Board

170 Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville, NY 11801

Tues, Wed & Fri. 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Appointment required

Contact: Christopher Mistron at (516) 571-9664

Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York

North Shore-LIJ Health System

269-01 76th Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

MONTHLY — Appointment required

Contact: Jillian Savino (718) 470-7178 or schedule an appointment at cohenchildrenstrauma.eventbrite.com

Garden City Police Department

349 Stewart Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530

Appointment required

Contact: (516) 465-4121

Town of Hempstead Department of Public Safety

200 North Franklin Street, Hempstead, NY 11550

Locations: Fall/Winter/Spring – East Meadow, NY

Summer – Various park facilities

Wednesdays and one weekend day each month

9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Appointment required

Contact: (516) 538-1900, ext. 7709 or https://hempsteadny.gov/public-safety-department/child-car-seat-safety-program

EAC SAFE START

175 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead, NY 11550

Appointment required

Spanish Speaking Technicians are available.

Contact: Angela Brockmann at (516) 292-7362

Education & Assistance Corporation – Nassau County

170 Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville, NY 11801

Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Appointment required

Spanish Speaking Technicians are available.

Contact: Angela Brockmann at (516) 292-7362

NY Coalition for Transportation

620 Central Avenue, Cedarhurst, NY 11516

Wednesday – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Appointment required

Contact: Mark Hoffacker at 1 (516) 569-3083

Families of children with special health care needs can contact Mark Hoffacker at (516) 551-2411 or [email protected]

Strapped in Car Seat Safety

13 Woodtree Drive, Woodbury, NY 11797)

Appointment required

Contact: Brett Soloman at (516) 521-3696 or email [email protected]

Suffolk County

South Fork Community Health Initiative

200 Pantigo Place, Suite M, East Hampton, NY 11937

Monday thru Friday – 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Appointment required

Contact: Darlene Mercieca at (631) 831-0022

East Hampton Town Police Department

131 Wainscott Northwest Road, Wainscott, NY 11975

Appointment required

Contact: Sergeant Thomas Lambert at (631) 537-7575 ext. 206 or e-mail [email protected]

Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center

1000 Montauk Highway, West Islip, NY 11795

Monday thru Friday — Appointment required

Contact: (631) 376-4109

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office

100 Center Drive, Riverhead, NY 11901

3rd Wednesday of the month – 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Appointment required

Contact: Deputy Sheriff Allison Zachino at (631) 852-2651

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Sub-Station

Gabreski Airport, County Road 31, Westhampton, NY 11977

Every other Wednesday – 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Appointment required

Contact: To schedule an appointment call (631) 852-2650 and speak to Arthur Sanchez

Village of East Hampton Police Department

1 Cedar Street, East Hampton, NY 11937

Appointment required

Contact: Officer Matthew Morgan at (631) 324-0777

Village of Quogue Police Department

115 Jessup Avenue, Quogue, NY 11959

Appointment required

Contact: Patrol Officer Kellie Hanley at (631) 653-4791

New York State Police

7140 Republic Airport, Farmingdale, NY 11735

Appointment required

Contact: Trooper Frank Bandiero at (631) 756-3389

Suffolk County Park Police

Southaven County Park, Shirley, NY 11967

Appointment required

Contact: Officer Ronald Brockmann at (631) 854-1477

Education & Assistance Corporation

80 Wheeler Road, Central Islip, NY 11722

Last 3 Wednesdays of the month — Appointment required

Spanish Speaking Technicians are available.

Contact: Angela Brockmann at (631) 648-7100 ext. 210 or e-mail [email protected]

Sag Harbor Police Department

70 Division Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963

Appointment required

Contact: Officer David Driscoll at (631) 725-3604

Dix Hills Fire District

115 East Deer Park Road, Dix Hills, NY 11746

Monday through Friday – 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. by appointment only

Appointment required

Spanish Speaking Technicians are available.

Contact: Glenn Kaleita or George Fleites at (631) 499-8836 ext: 137

Continental Car Care

654 Portion Road, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

By Appointment Only

Contact: Chris Barba at (631) 981-0101

Long Island Accident Attorneys and Safety Advocates

For more than 25 years, our attorneys at Siler & Ingber have been safety dedicated advocates for protecting Long Island families on the roads. If your child has been injured in a vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, our winning team is here to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation to explore your options for seeking justice by calling 1-877-LAW-4343 or filling out the contact form below.

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