Car crashes are a leading cause of deaths and injuries among New York State tweens (8- to 12-year- olds). Most tweens seriously injured or killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. They are also more likely to get hurt in crashes when riding in the front seat.
What can parents do to keep tweens safe in the car?
• Require tweens to ride in the backseat and wear seat belts every time. No exceptions, even when riding in the car with other drivers or when the trip is short. Most crashes happen close to home. Wearing seat belts is not only for their safety—it’s the law.
• Make sure seat belts fit properly: The lap belt should be snug and low across the upper thighs/hips. The shoulder belt should cross the chest and collarbone. Never let your tween put the shoulder belt behind the back or under the arm. Serious injuries can occur in a crash. Your child should be tall enough to sit up straight against the vehicle seat back and have legs bend over the edge. Your child may need to use an approved booster seat if the seat belt does not fit properly.
• Make sure your tween sits up straight. Seat belts will not work properly if your child is slouching. If your rear seat reclines, keep it upright.
• Make it easy and a habit. To encourage buckling up in the backseat, let your tweens pick the radio station or play electronic games. Keep their belongings in the backseat with them.
• Wait until everyone is buckled up before driving.
• Tweens should only ride with adult drivers. Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash, more likely to let tweens sit in the front seat, and less likely to insist on seat belts.
What You Say Matters.
Tween survey results indicate that parents have the most influence. If your tween resists, insist.
National Child Passenger Safety Week was Sept. 17 through 23. Visit www.safeny.ny.gov/seat-per.htm for more information about properly fitted safety seats and additional seat check sites.
Here are some of the local sites; appointments are required:
Nassau County Traffic Safety Board
170 Cantiague Rock Rd., Hicksville; 516-571-9664
Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York North Shore-LIJ Health System
269-01 76th Ave., New Hyde Park; 718-470-3352
North Shore-LIJ Health System
Plainview Hospital, 888 Old Country Rd., Plainview; 516-719-2613
Garden City Police Department
349 Stewart Ave.; 516-465-4121
Town of Hempstead Department of Public Safety
200 North Franklin St., Hempstead; 516-538-1900
EAC Safe Start
175 Fulton Ave., Hempstead; 516-292-7362
EAC Nassau County
170 Cantiague Rock Rd., Hicksville; 516-292-7362
Winthrop University Hospital
Old Country Road and Fifth Avenue, Mineola; 516-663-4839
Strapped in Car Seat Safety
13 Woodtree Dr., Woodbury; 516-521-3696