LANSING, Mich. — In a new press release issued by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, state officials are urging parents and caregivers of all levels to be educated in car seat safety.
The full press release with links to additional information is available below.
The number of children being cared for by non-parental caregivers, including grandparents, either full- or part-time, has increased over the last decade resulting in a larger variety of people being responsible for safely transporting a child in a vehicle.
This week, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is encouraging certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) instructors and technicians across the state to partner with organizations serving seniors and other community groups to educate all caregivers about the importance of car seats.
“Car seats and car seat laws have changed significantly since most of today’s grandparents brought home their first child,” said Michael L. Prince, director of OHSP. “As more grandparents assume the role of primary or secondary caregiver it is important they remain up to date on the best practices for child passenger safety.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.9 million children under age 18 live in grandparent-headed households. This is an increase from 4.5 million 10 years ago. For approximately 20 percent of these children, grandparents are responsible for their basic needs.
One key issue for most grandparents is the use of older car seats. Grandparents are more likely to purchase a car seat at garage sales or reuse old seats. Car seats should not be purchased secondhand because the history of the seat is unknown.
To help provide all caregivers a quick CPS guide, OHSP has a new Car Seat Basics flyer with information including the four steps for riding safely, common car seat mistakes and tips for purchasing car seats. The flyer will be distributed by CPS technicians during CPS Week and is available on Michigan.gov/ohsp.
CPS Week is a national initiative to raise awareness for car seat use and encourage caregivers to have their children’s car seats installed and inspected by a certified CPS technician.
For a list of planned car seat checks, visit Michigan.gov/ohsp. To make best use of the car seat check, drivers are asked to come with the vehicle, the car seat and the child.
Michigan law requires all drivers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.
This project is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in February.