Topeka (WIBW) - Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of accidental injury-related deaths for children ages 14 and younger.
Changing that is the focus Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week, Sept. 12 thru 18.
The latest figures from Safe Kids show that in 2003, 61 percent of Kansas kids killed in accidents were not using seat belts or child safety seats.
Stormont-Vail Trauma Services Director Scott Harrison, RN/BSN, says putting a seat belt on a child or putting them in a proper safety seat is the easiest way to prevent injury.
Experts recommend all children under age four be in a car seat that fits their weight. From age four until they're eight, or weigh 80 pounds, they need a booster seat.
Harrison says the booster seat lifts a child so the seat belt fits them properly. He says the belt should sit low across the hips, not up on the abdomen. The shoulder strap should ride over the shoulder and comfortably across their chest, not cut into their neck or be slipped behind them.
Getting a car seat to fit properly can be tough. An estimated 80 percent are installed incorrectly. Harrison recommends parents take advantage of special check lane events, so someone with specialized training can ensure the seat doesn't move around.
People can locate a trained car seat fitter in their area at the Safe Kids Kansas web site, .
Parents also should remember to set an example and buckle up, too. Harrison says children are more likely to use their seat belt if they see the adults around them using there's.
Safety also extends to outside the vehicle. Harrison says drivers should physically walk around their car and make sure no children are around before getting inside and starting to move.
More stats from Safe Kids USA and Safe Kids Kansas:
*Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under.
*NHTSA found that sitting in a rear seat instead of the front seat reduces fatal injury risk among children 12 and younger by 36 percent.
*Between 1996 and 2002, an estimated 1,700 children’s lives were saved because they were seated in a back seat.
in 2003, 61% of the Kansas children killed were not using safety belts or child safety seats.
*Observational surveys conducted in 2006 indicate that 17% of Kansas children ages 0-4 are not protected by a car seat, 47% of Kansas kids ages 5-9 are not protected by a booster seat or seat belt.
52% of Kansas kids ages 10-14 are not protected by a seat belt