Ashkum, IL – Illinois State Police District 21 is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $1,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation. This grant was awarded to help increase the use of booster seats throughout Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford Counties. This grant is one of 51 grants distributed throughout Illinois this spring as part of the Boost Your Big Kid campaign.
Booster seats reduce the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children ages four to eight years old. According to a 2011 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25 percent of children age four to seven were restrained by a seat belt alone and another 10 percent were riding totally unrestrained.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Crash data from NHTSA shows that during the five-year period from 2007 to 2011, 3,661 children were killed in car crashes. In addition, an estimated 634,000 children were injured.
"Children depend on their parents to keep them safe – every trip, every time," said Captain Bridget Bertrand. Illinois law requires that all children under the age of 8 must be properly restrained in an appropriate car seat or booster seat. Even though a child turns 8, it does not mean he is big enough to sit without a booster seat. Don't leap out of a booster seat too soon; take the 5-Step test:
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the vehicle seat?
2. Do the child's knees completely bend over the edge of the vehicle seat with the feet touching the floor?
3. Does the shoulder belt cross the child's shoulder between the neck and arm and the lap belt fit low and snug
across the hips?
4. Does the vehicle seat provide the child with adequate head protection?
5. Can the child stay seated in this position for the entire trip?
If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then the child is not ready to use an adult seat belt. Continue to use the booster seat until the adult seat belt fits appropriately.
Remember: All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
As of January 1, 2012, seat belt use is required in all seating positions.