Public education regarding child passengers has received a boost from the state.
San Joaquin County Public Health Services was recently awarded a grant of $85,700 from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The grant will be used in a project that encourages parents and those caring for children to keep them in booster seats until the size and age required by law.
Children must be 8 years old or 4-feet, 9-inches tall before no longer using booster seats.
“While most parents and caregivers understand the importance of car seat use for very young children, many incorrectly assume that after a child outgrows a car seat with a built-in harness, they are ready to ride in cars restrained by a seatbelt alone,” said Dr. Alvaro Garza, a county health officer. “In reality, children who have outgrown their car seats should ride in booster seats until they are 4-foot, 9-inches tall so the seatbelt fits them correctly.”
According to information provided by Public Health, 80 percent of child fatalities (0 to 7 years old) due to vehicle crashes from 2011-2014 were linked to improper restraint or being unrestrained completely.
Booster seats in addition to restraints are credited for reducing serious injury by 45 percent to seatbelts only.
San Joaquin County ranks third in the state for car crash-related injuries and deaths.
“Years of research tells us that education and enforcement work best jointly to combat crash-related injuries and deaths in children,” said Rhonda Craft, director of OTS. “This grant brings both tactics together, with the Office of Traffic Safety and San Joaquin County Public Health Services working in concert to help keep children safe across the county and state.”