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DHMH Press Releases : Back-To-School Car-Pool Safety

MARYLAND KISS URGES BACK-TO-SCHOOL CAR-POOL SAFETY

 

BALTIMORE (September 17, 2012) – This week is Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week, and with this season’s increase in school and extracurricular activities, Maryland Kids In Safety Seats (KISS) wants to take the opportunity to provide safety tips for car-pool drivers.

“It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure each child is properly restrained—every trip, every time," says Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Secretary for the MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

How can drivers keep children safe when car-pooling?

  • Create a rule that the vehicle must come to a complete stop before anyone can unbuckle or get out of the vehicle.
  • Plan drop-off and pick-up points carefully- make sure children exit the vehicle on the safest side—preferably nearest the sidewalk and away from other traffic and avoid backing up where young children are pedestrians.
  • Prohibit children from wearing backpacks while riding in the car and make sure belongings are within reach for an easy exit from the vehicle.
  • All children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat- the safest part of a vehicle.
  • Make sure each child correctly uses a car seat or booster seat (per the instructions) or a seat belt on every trip.
  • Transport only as many children as there are seat belt positions in the vehicle and never buckle more than one child per seat belt. 
  • Never transport children in the cargo area of a station wagon, pickup truck, hatchback, or van.
  • Keep doors locked and windows open only slightly.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or around a vehicle.
  • Never smoke while children are in the vehicle.

To learn more about child passenger safety, visit “Parents Central: From car seats to car keys: keeping kids safe” at http://www.safercar.gov/parents/index.htm.  Car seat installation events will be held around the state next week. For information about events, contact KISS at 800-370-SEAT, email dhmh.kiss@maryland.gov or go to www.mdkiss.org.

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