LAW ENFORCEMENT PATROLS FOCUSING ON CHILD CAR SEAT VIOLATIONS COMING TO COWLITZ COUNTY
Cowlitz County, WA – In April and May Cowlitz County law enforcement will be out in force searching for child car seat violations. The law enforcement officers who are participating in the emphasis patrols will go through intensive child passenger safety training.
The first-ever Click it or Ticket-style surveys focused on child car seat use in Cowlitz County during January 2013 saw a number of violations including:
• Children younger than 13 in the front seat
• Other child restraint violations including kids not buckled at all or not using booster seats
• No seat belt use for driver or child passengers
• Improper use of seat belts, such as having backpacks on while buckled up or not using the shoulder strap (tucking it behind the back)
All of these violations earn motorists a substantial ticket: $124.
“Our goal with the project isn’t to write tickets, but to get kids buckled up according to Washington’s child car seat law which will reduce serious injuries and traffic deaths involving children,” said Lowell Porter, Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
To abide by Washington law and for the best protection for their children, parents should try to adhere to the following when buckling up their child:
• Child ages: 0 – at least 12 months and at least 20 pounds – use a rear-facing infant seat. Keep your child rear-facing as long as your child car seat allows. Currently the American Association of Pediatrics recommends rear facing until age 2.
• Age 13 months to 4 years – use a child car seat with a five-point harness.
• Age 4 years to 4’9” tall – use a booster seat. Boosters should only be placed with a lap and shoulder belt.
• Up to age 13 – children must ride in the rear seat of the vehicle.
Most parents, according to the law enforcement officers, understand that infants need to ride rear-facing and not in front of an air bag. The newer models of infant seats allow a child to ride rear-facing for up to two years, which adds an important protective element.
Safe Kids Lower Columbia offers monthly car seat checks free of charge, and offer discounted rates on car seats if a new seat is deemed needed by a car seat technician.
Participating in this effort to reduce child car seat violations and improve child passenger safety are the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, and Woodland Police Departments and the Washington State Patrol.
Parents needing more information this project can call 509-766-9230 or visit www.800bucklup.org.
Parents wanting more information on proper car seat installation or dates and locations of car seat clinics in our area are encouraged to visit the Safe Kids Lower Columbia website www.safekidslc.org or contact Brandi Ballinger at Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue at 360-575-6280.