AAA: Buckle up on every trip

AAA: Buckle up on every trip AAA South Dakota, through its "Seated, Safe & Secure" campaign, urges motorists to buckle themselves and their children on every trip.

"The motorist should take the time to ensure all passengers are properly restrained in the vehicle, whether wearing a seatbelt, or using a proper child safety seat that meets current federal standards for children," said Cheri Cihak, AAA South Dakota's director of public affairs. "Even if it is just for a quick trip to the corner store or driving to your friend's house on the same street."

Many motorists have the false perception of safety when taking short trips, but the reality is that most crashes occur within a few miles of our homes.

Motor vehicle crashes account for an estimated 42,000 deaths annually. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,200 of these lives could be saved and 143,000 serious injuries prevented if all motorists were properly restrained.

To protect all passengers, AAA urges motorists to follow these safety guidelines:


* All children 12 and under should ride in the back seat.


* Everyone, children and adults alike, should be buckled up, in the back seats as well as the front. Rear seat passengers who are not wearing their seat belts can cause injury or death to front seat passengers in a crash.


* Infants should ride in a rear facing child safety seat that meets current federal standards until they are both one year of age and at least 20 pounds.


* Once children outgrow their forward-facing child safety seat, usually when reaching the upper weight limits of the harness, they are not yet ready to ride in the seat belt alone. Use a booster seat until the lap/shoulder belt fits your child properly.

Proper seat belt fit for children and adults is ensuring that the lap belt fits low and tight across the lap/upper thigh area and the shoulder belt fits snug crossing the chest.

and shoulder to avoid abdominal injury. The passenger should be able to sit with their back flat against the seat back with their knees bending comfortable at the edge of the cushion.

Studies nationwide show that 80 percent of child passenger restraints (car seats) are used incorrectly. Many local car seat checks have shown an even higher rate of misuse with rates over 90 percent in South Dakota. AAA South Dakota now has two Child Passenger Safety Technicians on staff in Sioux Falls. Both technicians have completed and passed NHTSA's Standardized Child Passenger Safety Technical Training. AAA South Dakota now offers free inspection and car seat installation instruction by appointment in Sioux Falls by calling 336-3690 or 800-222-4545.

In addition, as part of AAA's Buckle Up America promotion, AAA South Dakota and the Sioux Falls Safe Kids Coalition have partnered to hold a child passenger safety seat check up event on Saturday, May 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be held at the Sioux Falls Canaries Stadium parking lot, located at 1001 N. West Avenue in Sioux Falls. Parents, grandparents, caregivers or anyone transporting children can attend the free event and make sure their child safety seats are properly installed and being used correctly.

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