DHEC Urges Parents to Follow Life-Saving Child Passenger Guidance – SCDHEC

Sept. 15, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — With the start of Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 17-23) on Sunday, Sept. 17, the Division of Injury and Substance Abuse Prevention (DISAP) at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reminds caregivers how important it is to correctly use child safety seats to protect children while traveling in vehicles. 
An average of 3 children were killed and an estimated 445 children were injured every day in traffic crashes in the United States in 2021, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of the children that died while riding in a motor vehicle, at least 42% were not properly restrained by car-seat or seatbelt. 
During Child Passenger Safety Week, DHEC will host educational events across the state to promote the proper use of car safety seats for children. At the car seat check events there will be a Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician available to help parents and caregivers ensure their car seat is properly installed and used correctly for the child’s age, height and weight.  
“While attending the CPS technician certification course, my eyes were opened to the complexity of car seat installation and safety,” said Abby Jackson, a recently certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician. “Going through the course, you’re taught how to properly restrain children in car seats based upon the specific needs of the child, the car seat and the car. Not every installation is the same.  
“After attending car seat check events, I truly understood that parents and caregivers want the best for their children. With the help of CPS technicians, we can help those caregivers go the extra mile for safety.”  
According to DHEC’s Vital Statistics division, there were 1,221 motor vehicle fatalities in South Carolina in 2021, including 64 children under the age of 18. The number of motor vehicle deaths includes collisions that involved new teen drivers, vehicles that hit pedestrians or bicyclists and children who were not properly restrained in the vehicle.  
If a seat belt and car seat is used correctly, it can reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 71% among infants and 54% among toddlers. Booster seats can reduce the risk of nonfatal injuries by 45% among four-to eight-year-old children when compared to using only the seat belt alone. 
“The South Carolina car seat misuse rate is currently 68% according to our data,” said Samone Howard, program assistant for DHEC’s Child Passenger Safety Program. “We encourage all caregivers to take advantage of our inspection stations that are often located at your local fire or police station.” 
South Carolina has more than 145 car-seat inspection stations in the state. At these sites, CPS technicians ensure car-seats are safely installed and help parents and caregivers learn how to properly install a car-seat at no cost.  
To find a site near you and to schedule an appointment, visit the DHEC website.  
To learn more about DHEC’s child passenger safety information and resources, including how to become a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, visit scdhec.gov/carseats. Additional information is available at safekids.org/car-seat and nhtsa.gov/equipment