IDOT and State Police urge motorists to secure children properly during National Child Passenger Safety Week and all year long
ISP steps up child passenger patrols, IDOT teams with K’s Merchandise to educate parents about child passenger safety laws
Springfield—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Timothy W. Martin and Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry Trent are urging motorists to properly restrain their child passengers. During Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from February 12-18, IDOT and ISP are planning activities focusing on getting children, and all members of the public to buckle up, every trip, every time.
“Our loved ones are our most precious cargo, and anytime you have a child in your car, whether it’s your own child, a grandchild, niece or nephew, I would urge you to take a few extra moments to make sure they are restrained properly,” said IDOT Secretary Martin. “In 2003 Governor Blagojevich signed into law legislation that requires every child traveling in a car up to eight years old to be secured in a child restraint system.”
IDOT’s Regional Occupant Protection Coordinators will be partnering with retailer, K’s Merchandise, to educate parents and the general public during this week about the child passenger protection laws in Illinois. While Illinois Law requires all children younger than the age of 8 to be properly restrained in the appropriate child restraint, only 60 percent are riding properly restrained. The Occupant Protection Coordinators will work with K’s Merchandise stores in their regions to provide a presentation, as well as to set up a display and provide child passenger safety literature. The primary goal during this weeklong campaign is to emphasize the importance of booster seat use until at least the age of 8 and until the child is 4'9" tall. Nationally, it is estimated that only 10-20 percent of children ages 4-8 are riding in booster seats. When used correctly, booster seats reduce the risk of death for this age group by 59 percent.
“Parents are listening and doing a good job of putting their children in car safety seats, however, we must focus much greater attention on the need for parents to use booster seats,” said Margaret Rossiter of Katie Cares, an organization dedicated to child passenger safety. “Failing to use a booster seat for older children can cause serious injury or death due to the seat belt riding high on the child’s neck and stomach.”
Statistics show a positive relationship exists between drivers using safety belts and the children they transport being restrained. Children transported by belted drivers were restrained 92 percent of the time, while those traveling with unrestrained drivers were only belted 62 percent of the time.
"Ensuring the safety of our children should be the top priority of the motoring public,” said Director Larry Trent of the Illinois State Police. “Law enforcement officers across the state will keep a watchful eye out for those drivers who choose to violate the law. When you get behind the wheel, buckle up and make sure your child is seat-belted or securely restrained in a properly installed safety seat."
Illinois State Police will be conducting a special mobilization during Child Passenger Safety Week. Between February 13-19, troopers will be conducting about 40 roving patrols specifically targeting occupant restraint violations. ISP districts will also be conducting some safety seat inspections on a local level.
In Illinois a team of more than 1,850 nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians regularly assist families with proper installation and use of child safety seats. The Illinois Red, White, and Blue team represents the police officers, fire fighters and health care professionals who strive to ensure that all children ride properly restrained. For more information about the proper use of child safety seats visit www.buckleupillinois.org.