Despite being buckled up, as a father, I worry every time my daughter is in a car. Quite frankly, I have seen way too many serious accidents involving minors not to worry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), automobile accident injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. However, many of these deaths can be prevented. First and foremost, I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure your child is properly restrained. The CDC has announced that in one year more than 618,000 children travelled in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt. If you are unsure if your child seat is properly installed, do not worry. Fortunately, the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue provides free Safety Seat checks. According to the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, to schedule an appointment, call Palm Beach County Fire Rescue (561) 616-7033.
Below please find the schedule to have a Palm Beach County Fire Rescue certified Child Passenger Safety Technician check your child restraints.
- 1st Wednesday of the month 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Jupiter Call (561) 616-7033 for appointment
- 2nd Wednesday of the month 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Lantana Call (561) 616-7033 for appointment
- 3rd Wednesday of the month 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Boca Raton Call (561) 616-7033 for appointment
- 4th Wednesday of the month 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Royal Palm Beach Call (561) 616-7033 for appointment
The CDC has provided the following child safety guidelines:
Guidelines for Parents and Caregivers
Parents and caregivers can:
• Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. This sets a good example.
• Make sure children are properly buckled up in a seat belt, booster seat, or car seat, whichever is appropriate for their age, height and weight.
• Know the stages:
- Birth through Age 2 – Rear-facing child safety seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be kept in a rear-facing child safety seat, in the back seat buckled with the seat’s harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. The weight and height limits on rear-facing child safety seats can accommodate most children through age 2, check the seat’s owner’s manual for details.
- Between Ages 2-4/Until 40 lbs – Forward-facing child safety seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (the weight and height limits on rear-facing car seats can accommodate most children through age 2) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat buckled with the seat’s harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds; many newer seats have higher weight limits-check the seat’s owner’s manual for details).
- Between Ages 4-8 OR Until 4'9" Tall – Booster seat. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (by reaching the upper height and weight limits of their seat), they should ride in belt positioning booster seats. Remember to keep children in the back seat for the best possible protection.
- After Age 8 AND/OR 4'9" Tall – Seat belts. Children should use booster seats until adult seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (not the neck). When adult seat belts fit children properly they can use the adult seat belts without booster seats. For the best possible protection keep children in the back seat and use lap-and-shoulder belts.
• All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an air bag.
• Place children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.