SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that statewide car seat checks are being held as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week through Sept. 29. IDOT, the Illinois State Police and the secretary of state are partnering with dozens of agencies to check car seats and educate caregivers on appropriate selection, installation and use.
IDOT will host an event from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at 2300 S. Dirksen Parkway, in Springfield.
“All parents and caregivers want their children to be as safe as possible, and ensuring that they well-secured in a properly installed car seat is the best way to do that while traveling in vehicle,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “That’s why IDOT is organizing nearly 100 safety checks throughout the state this week.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child should remain in their car seat or booster seat until they reach the top height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
Recent changes to Illinois law will require children traveling in Illinois to remain rear-facing until age 2. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed legislation supporting recommendations of experts and advocates to keep children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible. This law will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.
“Proper installation of child restraint systems is essential for protecting children,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz. “A car seat that is not properly installed could fail to protect the child in the event of a crash. If your child is under eight years old, Illinois law requires them to be secured in an appropriate child safety seat.”
Rear-facing car seats offer children the best protection in the event of a crash. A car seat’s hard plastic shell is engineered to absorb crash forces, reducing the likelihood of serious injury to the head, neck and spine. Turning a child forward-facing too soon can substantially increase the likelihood of injury.
Across Illinois, motorists can visit one of 98 events and have their car seat checked for free by a nationally certified car seat technician. Find an event near you: BuckleUpIllinois.org.