Northwest Iowa — This is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for the age group 2 to 14 years old, based on the most current figures available from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Sioux County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Nate Huizenga tells us that seat belts and car restraints save lives. He gives us the current Iowa child restraint law.
In fact, Huizenga says that’s something that you’ll hear a lot — that people recommend a more stringent standard than is actually the law. That’s often the case in regard to a belt-positioning booster seat. The law only requires that kids up to age six use a booster seat — but after age six, the law says they can just use the regular seat belt. The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says that they recommend that to graduate to an adult belt — a child must be able to sit with their back and bottom against the seat and with their knees bent at the edge of the seat. Huizenga says the difference exists because not all kids are the same.
He says seat belts and car seats save lives, and that they’d rather wonder what would have happened had someone not been buckled in, than to see the aftermath of a crash in which restraints were not used.
Officers also recommend checking the expiration date on child restraints as they do expire. One of the reasons for this is that manufacturers sometimes recall seats due to defects or other issues.
If you need help installing a seat correctly, many hospitals and health departments help people with this. If you can’t find somewhere that provides this service, law enforcement officers are usually glad to help you find someone who can help.