The N.C. Highway Patrol will conduct free child safety seat clinics across the state during its seventh annual â€œBuckle In Baby Safelyâ€ week June 6-13, 2004.
A clinic will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday at the YMCA in Lincolnton.
The Patrol and its parent agency, the Department of Crime Control & Public Safety, developed the BIBS program several years ago to inform parents and child caregivers about the proper way to safeguard children while riding in cars.
According to state and national child passenger safety experts, most people put their children in child safety seats when they travel. But data gathered at child safety seat clinics across the country shows as many as 80 percent of those child safety seats arenâ€™t being used correctly.
â€œParents want their children to be as safe as possible when they ride in cars, and so do we,â€ said CCPS Secretary Bryan E. Beatty. â€œBut in order for the safety seat to do its job, the seat has to be properly installed.â€
The object of the clinics is not to find violations and write tickets, but to teach motorists how to properly use a child safety seat.
â€œIn North Carolina, the leading cause of death and serious injury to children after age one is trauma from motor vehicle crashes,â€ said Col. Richard W. Holden, commander of the Highway Patrol.
â€œIf we can get every child secured in a properly-installed child safety seat or snugly buckled into a lap and shoulder seat belt, we will save lives and reduce injuries.â€
North Carolina law requires children under 16 to buckle up no matter where they sit in a vehicle, and mandates all children under age five and weighing less than 40 pounds be buckled into a properly installed child safety seat. Safety experts say children under 12 are safest in the back seat and should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with a passenger-side airbag. Child safety seats should also be appropriate for the size and age of a child. A conviction of a child seat violation results in court fines of $125 and two driverâ€™s license points placed on the violatorâ€™s drivers license.
Troopers recommend parents read the instructions that come with their childâ€™s safety seat as well as fill out and mail in warranty information to the seatâ€™s manufacturer. That way, if there is a safety seat recall, parents will be notified.
At the BIBS clinics, Troopers will give out a bright, orange BIBS sticker. Designed to go on the back of a childâ€™s safety seat, each sticker is actually a form for listing vital information about the child. Police and rescue workers would need that information if a childâ€™s caregivers were unable to speak due to a crash or illness.