Free child booster seats available

Free child booster seats available Parents can pick up free child booster seats for their children as part of Child Passenger Safety Week observances, Feb. 9-15. The state will be distributing booster seats in Pierre, Spearfish, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen through the Ford Motor Company Boost America United Way Campaign. Distribution sites and times include:

Sioux Falls � Sioux Falls Fire & Rescue, 2820 S. Minnesota Ave � Feb. 15, 10 a.m. – noon.

"Keeping children safe on the road means putting them in the right restraint at the right age," said Roy Meyer, director of the state's Office of Highway Safety. "There are four steps to keeping children safe in motor vehicles � rear facing infant seats, forward-facing toddler seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Unfortunately, the booster seat is most often skipped or missed."

Children between 4 and 8 who weigh 40 to 80 pounds and are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall should ride in booster seats to reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that less than ten percent of this age group rides in the seats on a regular basis.

In South Dakota it is a primary law that all youth 17 years of age and under be properly restrained while riding in a vehicle. "Child safety seats, including booster seats, are very effective in protecting children from serious injuries and death in car crashes," said Sherrie Fines, child health coordinator for the Department of Health.

Fines offered these tips:

* Make sure your child's safety seat is appropriate for their size and is installed and used correctly.

* Never put the shoulder belt under a child's arm or behind their back since it reduces the protection of the upper body and increases the risk of severe injury in a crash.

* Children age 12 and under should sit properly restrained in the back seat while riding in a motor vehicle.

* Don't place children into an adult seat belt system before they reach the proper age, weight, or height.

* Adults can set a good example by buckling up every trip, every time.

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