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Category Archives: Safety

Check Out Your Latest State Seatbelt Safety Laws

Safety belt laws

There are mandatory safety belt laws in all states except New Hampshire. In some states, these laws cover front-seat occupants only, but belt laws in 29 states and the District of Columbia cover all rear-seat occupants, too.

Belt use laws in only 34 states and the District of Columbia are primary, meaning police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations. In other jurisdictions, police must have some other reason to stop a vehicle before citing an occupant for failing to buckle up.

Safety belt use can have implications in civil suits — 16 states allow the “safety belt defense,” which can reduce damages collected by someone in a crash if the person failed to buckle up. The reduction is permitted only for injuries that would have been prevented by a belt. In some states, the reduction may not exceed a fixed percentage of the damages.

Child safety seat laws

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child safety seat laws. Child safety seat laws require children to travel in approved child restraints or booster seats and some permit or require older children to use adult safety belts. The age at which belts can be used instead of child safety seats differs among the states. Young children usually are covered by child safety seat laws, while safety belt laws cover older children and adults.

Because enforcement and fines differ under belt use and child safety seat laws, it’s important to know which law is being violated when a child isn’t restrained. Most child seat safety laws are primary, meaning police may stop vehicles solely for child safety seat violations. Nebraska and Ohio leave some children under a secondary enforcement law, meaning that police must have an additional reason to make a stop. Nebraska’s law is secondary only for those children who may be in safety belts and primary for those who must be in a child safety seat. Ohio’s law is secondary for children ages 4 through 14 years.

Ideally, all infants and children in all vehicles should be covered by enforceable safety belt laws or child safety seat laws or both. But differences in the way the laws in various states are worded result in many occupants, especially children, being covered by neither law. Lawmakers have eliminated most of these gaps by amending their child safety seat and safety belt laws; still, 15-year-olds riding in the rear seat in Arkansas, Alabama and Ohio, and children age 9 or older who are not taller than 4 feet 9 inches riding in the rear seat in Oklahoma are covered by neither law. All children younger than 16 in the other 46 states and the District of Columbia are covered by one, or both laws.

In April 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement recommending that children ride in rear-facing child safety seats until at least age 2. Previously, the recommendation was rear-facing until at least age 1 and 20 pounds. Since the AAP’s change, nine states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon) have updated their child restraint laws accordingly.

See the most recent published table on safety belt and child car seat laws pertaining to each state by clicking here.

* This information is provided by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

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Safe Ride News Article: Re-evaluating Car Seat Orientation and Safety

While we continue to work on our own adjustable seat innovation, we strive to also be a conduit for current child passenger safety news. This piece was published on Safe Ride News and we feel that this article on rear-facing vs forward-facing continues to need clarification for every day parents. The latest update was in September. Below is an excerpt, please read the full article and all supporting information on the Safe Ride News site by clicking here.

Over the past year, certain developments have caused some CPS advocates to be concerned and/or confused about the relative safety of children riding rear facing versus forward facing.  Testimony in a recent lawsuit that questioned the benefits of extended RF, changes to RF and FF requirements in CR instructions, and updated state laws have all contributed to the confusion.  Most recently, an expression of concern published by Injury Prevention and an online statement  posted by the CR manufacturer Dorel have understandably raised many questions among CPSTs.  The following describes these developments and gives additional context to help CPSTs make sense of recent news.

The Evolution to Extended RF

As recently as the early 1990s, in the U.S. and Canada babies as young as 6 months old were routinely turned to face forward, due partly to lack of awareness of the benefits of riding rear facing and also the scarcity of CRs designed to be safely used longer in the rear-facing mode. Today, this situation has changed dramatically. Over the years, organizations like NHTSA, CR manufacturers, and industry research groups have conducted extensive lab testing that has shown the safety benefits of placing babies and small children rear facing in the car, and real-life experience in Sweden, where riding RF past age 2 is the norm, consistently supports this, as well.  CPSTs have done a tremendous job educating the public on this subject, and CR manufacturers have filled the market with models allowing extended RF capacity.  Babies under age 1 are now far less frequently placed forward facing, and many parents heed the AAP’s best-practice advice to keep children rear facing until at least age 2.

AAP and NHTSA Guide U.S. CPS Policy 

These behavioral and product changes were supported and prompted by CPS best-practice policy. In 1996, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first recommended children ride facing the rear until they weighed at least 20 pounds and reached 1 year of age, in order to reduce the risk of cervical spine injury in a crash. It encouraged parents of children who weighed 20 pounds prior to their first birthday to seek a CR with a higher RF usage weight (though, at the time, such CRs were rare).  By the early 2000s, there was far greater availability of CRs designed to fit and safely transport most infants up to and even over age 1.  Therefore, in 2002, when the AAP updated its policy, it added that children should remain rear facing as long as possible—even beyond age 1— if the CR’s usage limits were still met. (Current Canadian policy aligns with these recommendations.)

In 2007, researchers analyzing injuries to children up to age 2 in both fatal and nonfatal police-reported crashes published an important study about this real-life data.  It stated that, among children  in the study group ages 12 to 24 months,  those that were seated rear facing were significantly safer than forward-facing children—as much as five times safer (Henary, et al, 2007). When the AAP next revised its policy on CR selection guidelines in 2011, the committee strengthened its encouragement to keep infants and toddlers riding rear facing as long as possible, adding that best practice should be to keep infants up to age 2 rear facing unless they’d reached the highest weight or height allowed for the CR by the manufacturer.

NHTSA simultaneously updated its own guidelines in 2011, agreeing that children should ride rear facing as long as possible.  Although NHTSA didn’t opt to specify age 2 as a rear-facing goal, its online guidance suggests that children should remain rear facing until at least age 1 and up to as old as age 3, depending on circumstances like the CR use limits and the child’s size. (One such instance is found in NHTSA’s “Car Seat by Child’s Age and Size” chart at Parents Central on the safercar.gov website.)

Today, the 2011 recommendations from the AAP and NHTSA still guide CPS policy.  Besides advising pediatrictians and caregivers, these policies have been used to develop CPS curricula, influence some enhanced state laws, and prompt instructions from CR manufacturers.

A Tragedy Spurs Re-evaluation of Evidence About Rear-Facing Benefits

Although the way children ride and the protectiveness of the CRs and vehicles they use has changed dramatically since the 2007 Henary study (the only published study to date that compares the effectiveness of RF and FF CRs using actual U.S. crash data), it took a tragedy to spur an updated study.

In 2013, a 20-month-old boy riding forward facing in a Cosco Summit combination CR was severely injured in a crash.  Because the boy was four months shy of age 2, this event prompted a lawsuit against Cosco’s parent company, Dorel.  The prosecution argued that the manufacturer’s instructions unsafely allowed the child to ride in the forward-facing-only CR after age 1, despite the fact that established best practice is for children to ride rear facing until at least age 2.  (See SRN July/August 2016.)

In preparing a defense for the 2016 trial, Dorel hired a statistical research group, JP Research, Inc., owned by statistician Jeya Padmanaban.  By that time, the data used in the 2007 Henary study was over 10 years old (spanning 1998 through 2003), so Dorel asked JP Research to replicate the study and also update it to include more recent data (2004–2014).

The results were a surprise. Using exactly the same sample set as the 2007 study, JP Research was not able to replicate the Henary results using any standard statistical methodology.  In fact, its findings, presented as expert testimony in the court case, were that children over age 1 were actually safer riding forward facing than rear facing. (It is important to note that this study has yet to be peer-reviewed for accuracy; see next section.) As expert testiomony, the contradictory study did not sway the jury, however, and Dorel lost the court case.  A source at Dorel has told SRN that the company does not intend to appeal the decision, and its follow-up efforts to investigate these study findings are not motivated by litigation.

JP Research Findings, Post-Trial

The significance of JP Research’s findings clearly extends beyond one trial.   JP Research is a credible firm, but the value of its study would be vastly increased by publication, which would confirm it had been thoroughly peer-reviewed for accuracy.  The study has, however, been accepted for presentation in November at the Stapp Car Crash Conference, which will involve some form of peer review. Even prior to peer review, NHTSA has been apprised of the JP Research analysis of the Henary study.  On January 31, 2017, JP Research staff met with NHTSA and other key industry stakeholders in Washington, D.C., to present the findings, including speculation of potential flaws in the earlier research methodology.  So it is certain that this situation is known to policymakers. The research has also prompted changes at Dorel.  In an online statement, Dorel has explained that it is the JP Research study that influenced the company to discontinue phasing in instructions that would have required children to be age 2 before riding forward facing in its Safety 1st, Cosco, Eddie Bauer, or Maxi-Cosi convertible or all-in-one CRs. However, despite already having some influence on the industry, the fact that, to date, the study has not been peer-reviewed or made available to read in full severely curtails its usefulness for future decision-making.  Although Dorel has already cited some of the study’s findings publicly, the scientific community does not consider it appropriate to do so until a work has been properly vetted.  Therefore, SRN will report more fully on findings of the JP Research study when and if it is peer-reviewed for acceptance by the scientific community.

Other Research Efforts

While any updated research will carry more weight once it’s been peer-reviewed and published—as none at press time has—this situation is nonetheless firmly on the radar of all policymakers.  A couple of other notable efforts to investigate the situation have been carried out by the University of Virginia and Dorel.

Read this entire article on Safe Ride News.

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Staying Up to Date: 2016 Motor Vehicle Fact Sheet

Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 19 according to CDC. It’s our goal, with our adjustable seat technology, to help reduce vehicle related child injuries and deaths. Take a look at the most recent data released on motor vehicle safety.

  • Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 195.*
  • 2,912 children ages 19 and under died in MVCs in 2014 as occupants or drivers. The number and rate of deaths was 2 percent higher in 2014 than the previous year. Since 2000, however, there has been a 40 percent decrease in the annual number of fatalities and a 56 percent decrease in the death rate.**
  • Teenagers ages 15-19 years made up 73 percent (2,138) of motor vehicle occupant/driverfatalities among children in 2014. The teen fatality rate was ten times higher than the rates for younger children (10.2 per 100,000 population for teenagers versus 1.2 to 1.3 for children under 15 years). The teenage motor vehicle fatality rate increased 2 percent from 2013 to 2014.**
  • Of the 451 children ages 8 and under who died in MVCs in 2014, 116 (26 percent) were not restrained by an age-appropriate device such as infant car seat, booster seat or seat belt. This age group was responsible for 15 percent of childhood MV fatalities.**

 

Safe Kids Worldwide has compiled research based upon numerous studies and research that have brings to light the statistics that we must aim to reduce.

See the full report.

 

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Website. Leading causes of death, children ages 19 and under. Accessed February 23, 2016. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/leading_causes_death.html.

**National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NCSA Data Resource Website. Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia. Accessed February 23, 2016.

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IIHS Awards Highest Safety Rating to 2017 Kia Sedona

Just released, Kia is awarded top honors for its 2017 Kia Sedona’s safety. Read up on the newly released announcement.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded its best rating possible, Top Safety Pick+, to the 2017 Kia Sedona minivan. Already distinguished by its elegant design, exceptional comfort and utility, the 2017 Sedona is offered with available Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), a system that helps to avoid forward collisions by warning the driver of an impending forward collision and then applying the brakes if no action is taken. The addition of AEB qualified the 2017 Sedona for the elevated 2016 IIHS TSP+ rating.

“Buyers often place safety at the top of their list when shopping for a new minivan,” saidOrth Hedrick, vice president, product planning KMA. “The IIHS is a highly respected safety authority and we see the 2017 Sedona’s TSP+ rating as validation of Kia’s dedication to its customers and to the continuous efforts to build better and safer vehicles.”

The top rating is even more impressive in light of the new testing standards implemented by IIHS this year. In order to achieve the TSP+ rating, vehicles are required to earn “good” ratings in five crashworthiness tests-small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength and head restraints-and an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention. The addition of AEB boosts the Sedona’s front crash prevention rating from “basic” to “superior.”

The TSP+ rating improves the Sedona’s previous rating as a Top Safety Pick and complements the minivan’s 5-star crash rating awarded by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in 2015. 

About the new 2017 Sedona

 The 2017 Sedona offers some key enhancements over the 2016 model year, including:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is added to a rich mix of available Advanced Driver Assisted System (ADAS) features: Blind-Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Departure Warning (LDWS), and Smart Cruise Control (SCC).
  • UVO3 e-Services system (with the added smart-phone connectivity of Apple®CarPlay™ and Android Auto™) and Navigation system with larger 7-inch display screen. Navigation with 8-inch screen is also available.
  • Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) technology is combined with an upgraded High-Intensity-Discharge headlight system for even greater nighttime visibility.
  • The enhanced Essentials Premium Package now includes Front & Rear Park-Assist, Smart Key, UVO with rear camera, and leather trim.
  • A new available Acoustic Windshield provides a supremely quiet driving experience.

Also new for the 2017 model year is a front passenger’s seat power adjustment switch for the added convenience of easily operating the passenger seat from the driver’s side of the vehicle and new premium stainless steel second-row door steps are standard on SXL models.

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October 2016 – State Child Passenger Safety Laws

It’s always a good idea to make sure that your state’s child passenger safety laws haven’t changed. For many parents, especially new parents, properly restraining your child can be a daunting task. Even if you think you know the laws, it’s always a good idea to double check.

Here’s a link to the October 2016 list of child passenger safety laws. CLICK HERE

 

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National Child Passenger Safety Week

While every day, we strive to keep child passenger safety at the forefront, Sept. 18-24, officially marks Child Passenger Safety Week where there is an emphasis on these efforts. Sept. 24 is National Seat Check Saturday.

Every 33 seconds, a child is involved in a crash according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many of the injuries or deaths can be prevented by using the correct car seat and properly installing the seat and securing the child. There is a lot of information out there – and great information resources continue to provide updated information as studies and products in the market evolve.

Here are some helpful tips from accredited resources:

Car Seat Recommendations for Children by NHTSA

When is a child ready to use an adult seat belt?

Seat belt tips if you are pregnant.

Need a car seat check-up? Find your nearest technician.

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Safety Conferences: Updated Sept. 2016

We strive to keep you informed of the latest upcoming conferences on car safety and child passenger safety. Here are the conferences for Sept. 2016.

Region 1 Child Passenger Safety Conference (Sept. 9-11)
Burlington, VT
Conference Link

Safety 2016 World Conference (Sept. 18-21, 2016)
Tampere, Finland
Conference Link

 

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List of Recalls and Replacement Parts for Child Restraints

We thank Safety Belt Safe U.S.A. for the most recent information in regards to the list of recalls and replacement parts for child restraints.

Check out this link to see if you have any of the items that need to be replaced. See List

More Tips by Safety Belt Safe U.S.A.:

How can you tell if your safety seat is safe?

  • Check the expiration date stamped on the plastic and make sure the date has not passed and that it has never been used in a crash.
  • You may not have received the most accurate information on a used car seat unless it has come from a trusted friend or relative.
  • The seat’s instruction booklet will let you know if you have all of the required seat parts.
  • Check for possible damage – cracks in the plastic, frayed straps, stiff buckles or harness adjusters.
  • Check for any recalls on the seat.

 

What is a safety recall?

  • Due to defects that could injure a child, a seat may be recalled by a manufacturer who is required to fix the problem free of charge.

 

Does the safety seat have to be sent back?

  • Not usually. Problems with recalled seats may be fixed by replacing a part that the manufacturer sends you for free.
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Evenflo Booster Seat Recall

Evenflo Booster Seat RecallJust announced a few days ago is Evenflo’s Booster Seat recall. Help spread the word to keep children safe.

More than 56,000 Evenflo booster seats are being recalled because children can loosen the internal harness. Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Booster seats with model numbers: 34411686, 34411695, and 34411029 are included in the recall. The seats have production dates from December 2014 to January 2016.

Evenflo is offering a redesigned seat pad and front assembly to owners of the car seats. You can request a repair kit from Evenflo online or call the company at  1-800-233-5921, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST.

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How to Get Your Car Seat Checked

We all want our children to travel safely in cars. Installing a car seat for younger children and babies can be a challenge. Safe Kids can connect you to child passenger safety (CPS) technicians in your community who can check to make sure your car seats are installed correctly and teach you how to use and install a car seat on your own.

Here are three ways to find nationally certified child passenger safety technicians near you.

  • Attend a safety event sponsored by a Safe Kids Coalition in your area. Safe Kids coalitions lead their communities in reducing child injury and host more than 8,000 free car seat inspection events across the country. Our trained technicians will teach you everything you need to know to make sure your car seat is installed and used correctly. Even if your coalition isn’t sponsoring a car seat event soon, we still might have a technician who can help.
  • Find child passenger safety technicians in your area through the National CPS Certification Program. Simply fill in the online form and search by location, language or special needs training.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a directory of many inspection stations.

There are a few things you should know before you meet with a CPS technician. This isn’t like getting an oil change on your car, where you leave the car and go do something else. Working with a CPS technician will be a one-on-one learning experience. When you leave, you should be confident that your child’s seat is installed correctly and feel comfortable reinstalling it on your own. This may be the most important thing you learn.

Here’s what you need to know about working with a CPS technician.

Before the Car Seat Checkup

  • Be prepared to learn, not just watch the CPS technician install the car seat. They’re trained to teach you.
  • Try to schedule an appointment one to two months prior to your baby’s due date just in case you deliver early. Many CPS technicians and their agencies require appointments several weeks in advance.
  • If your child is already born, know your child’s weight and height, and bring your child with you. If possible, also bring another adult to help watch the child while you are learning.
  • Install the seat in your vehicle before your car seat checkup appointment. Be sure to use the instructions that came with the child car seat and the instructions in your vehicle owner’s manual regarding car seats.
  • Bring the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual with you to your appointment.

During the Car Seat Checkup

  • Ask to see proof of your technician’s current certification.
  • This one-on-one education typically takes 20-30 minutes, depending on your car seat and vehicle. The technician will take all the time you need until you feel comfortable that your car seat is used and installed correctly.
  • During the checkup, a CPS Technician will:
    • Fill out a form to note a variety of information, including the car seat type, location in vehicle and misuse observations, if any.
    • Ensure that your car seat is appropriate for your child’s age, and size, and review factors affecting proper use.
    • Review the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual to ensure that both are being followed correctly. (Remember to bring the vehicle owner’s manual with you.)
    • Ensure that an appropriate seating position in the vehicle is being used.
    • Check the car seat for recalls, visible damage and an expiration date.
    • Watch you install the car seat(s) correctly using either the seat belt or LATCH system.
    • Discuss the next steps for each child, such as when to graduate to the next type of car seat.
    • Discuss the benefits of everyone riding properly buckled in, including all adults.
    • Discuss safety in and around the vehicle.
    • Answer any questions you may have, so ask away.

After the Car Seat Checkup

A car seat checkup is considered a success if you can answer yes to the following questions:

  • Did you participate in the installation?
  • Do you feel confident about installing and using the car seat correctly?
  • Did the technician answer all your questions? If not, were you given another expert to contact or will the CPS technician follow up with you?

 

Special thanks to the Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety for developing this checklist. And thank you for making time to learn an important skill that will help keep your children safe.

This checklist was cited from Safety Kids Worldwide – cert.safekids.org.

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