In an effort to reduce motor vehicle-related deaths and injury, the leading killer of children under 14, the Shawnee Fire Department will be sponsoring a car seat safety check-up event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, at Fire Station No. 3, 306. E. MacArthur.

Despite laws in all 50 states, surveys reveal that only 80 percent of all children in Oklahoma are buckled up, and of those, more than 80 percent are not restrained correctly.

Child passenger safety has dramatically evolved over the past decade; however, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death of children 4 years and older. This policy statement provides 4 evidence-based recommendations for best practices in the choice of a child restraint system to optimize safety in passenger vehicles for children from birth through Adolescences:

1. Rear-facing car seats for newborns to 2 years of age.

2. Forward-facing car seats for children 2 to 4 years of age.

3. Belt-positioning booster seats for children 4 to 8 years of age.

4. Lap-and-shoulder seat belts for all who have outgrown booster seats and a minimum of 4’9”.

Each year in the U.S., nearly 1,400 children (ages 14 and under) die in motor vehicle crashes and another 280,000 are injured -- primarily because they are not properly secured in vehicles. Oklahoma loses nearly 90 children annually due to motor vehicle crashes.

During this event, parents and caregivers will be taught by Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on how to properly secure their child in the vehicle. A limited number of car seats will be available to eligible families while supplies last. To qualify for a new seat, the caregiver must be the legal guardian of the child, must show proof of government aid (such as food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, etc.). Child must be present or within 6 weeks of the due date. Early arrival is suggested as there are a limited number of seats.

Firefighters advise parents to stop by and make sure seats are properly installed and let the kids see the fire trucks!

Refreshments will be provided.