2003-03-01 / Community

Pheffer Announces Child Safety Week

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, Chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee, in response to the need for heightened awareness of child safety in motor vehicles, will reintroduce her bill mandating that manufacturers of child safety seats provide consumers with important information regarding child safety seats and their proper use.

"It is appropriate," said Pheffer, "that we put forward this bill during National Child Passenger Safety Week, when the nation turns its attention to the important issue of improving the safety of our children."

The bill would require all manufacturers of child safety seats sold in New York State to display a label on the packaging stating that not all child safety seats are compatible with all motor vehicles. The label will also warn parents to avoid placing child safety seats in the front seat motor vehicles equipped with air bags.

In support of the bill, Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Child Products Safety Margaret Markey said, "This simple measure will go a long way to provide the necessary information to help parents, and everyone caring for children, make informed choices. By increasing public awareness, we take another step towards insuring the safety of our children.

National Child Passenger Safety Week is from February 9 - 15. It focuses on efforts to improve the safety of children riding in motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2001, a total of 1,579 children aged less than 15 years old died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. In 2001, 84 percent of infants involved in a fatal crash who were restrained in a child safety seat survived, compared with 42 percent of those who were unrestrained (Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatality and Injury Estimates for 2001, National Center of Statistics and Analysis).

In 1982, New York State mandated the use of child safety seats for children less than four years of age, The NHTSA state that a properly used child safety seat reduces the risk of fatality by 71 percent and the risk of serious injury by 67 percent among children less than five years of age.

As of September 1, 2002, all new child safety seats and new motor vehicles, except convertibles, come equipped with the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. LATCH makes it possible to install a child safety seat more easily without using an adult safety belt. When completely phased in, LATCH is expected to reduce by 50 percent the misuse associated with the incorrect installation of child safety seats.

Child Passenger Safety Week is a national effort designed to draw attention to ways to keep young passengers safe in motor vehicles. For more information about child passenger safety, go to www.nhsta.dot.gov


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