After a sample of Ketchikan car seats showed none were properly installed, the local Alaska State Troopers are struggling to raise awareness of the importance of child-safety seats.
Their efforts are part of a statewide program. Each year, car crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for children ages 4 to 14, and almost 2,000 children died in car crashes in 2000. According to information provided by state troopers, most of these children were not wearing seat belts or child safety seats.
There have been nearly 80 accidents in Ketchikan this year, Trooper Sgt. Lonny Piscoya said Dec. 20. About 20 of those resulted in injuries. Though data on the role of safety seats in those incidents was not immediately available, nurse Anna Annicelli said properly used safety seats can reduce the risk of death for infants by 71 percent. For toddlers, the risk is reduced by 54 percent.
Common problems with safety seats include not using a booster seat for children 80 pounds or under, and reusing car seats that may have been involved in accidents or subject to a recall.
Piscoya said troopers plan to stop and cite drivers if they see a child riding in a car without a car seat.
"We do have a no-tolerance policy," he said.