For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Merrimac Police Offer Child Seat Safety Tips to Residents
MERRIMAC — Chief Eric Shears would like to remind the community about the importance of properly installing their child car seats and encourages residents to contact and the Merrimac Police Department for assistance.
The Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law requires that all children sit in a federally approved car seat or booster, which must be properly fastened and secured, until they are 8 years old or over 57 inches tall. It is recommended that children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat.
All infants and toddlers should be in rear-facing car seats until they reach the age of 2 years old, or the weight and height limit issued by the manufacturer. Toddlers and preschoolers should be placed in convertible and forward-facing seats equipped with a harness. Once school-aged children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should sit in a booster until they are old enough to wear a seat belt.
According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, 75 percent of child safety seats are installed incorrectly, and motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury for all children. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 638 children 12 years old and younger were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2013, and that more than 127,250 were injured.
“Please always put safety first when it comes to your children,” Chief Shears said. “We are happy to assist the community with their car seats to ensure they are installed properly. Do not hesitate to ask for help.”
Officer Jeffrey Boisvert, who has been a safety car seat technician for over three years, works with the community to ensure residents are properly installing child seats in their vehicles.
The Merrimac Police Department hosts periodic safety events where people can bring their car seats to a designated location to have Officer Boisvert inspect and install them in their vehicles.
Officer Boisvert also educates parents on the proper fit and positioning of the seats, checks tightness, reviews the damage that can be caused by a loose object in the car, and discusses airbag deployment in a crash and how one can affect car seats.
“My main objective is for people to know their child car seat is correctly installed and to leave with the skills and knowledge they need to properly remove and reinstall the car seat safely every time,” Officer Boisvert said.
Properly securing your child in an age and size appropriate car seat greatly lowers the risk of serious and fatal injuries. The CDC reports that:
• Car seats reduce the risk of death to infants by 71 percent, and to toddlers between ages 1 to 4 by 54 percent.
• Booster seats decrease the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children 4 to 8 years old when compared with solely seat belt use.
Click here for a message on child safety seats from mass.gov.
For more information on child car seat safety or if you need help with installation, please contact Officer Boisvert at the Merrimac Police Department at 978-346-8321 or visit the department online here.