The holiday season is a great time for families and friends celebrate being together but due to the increase in traveling opportunities, road injuries and deaths tend to increase this time of year. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids N.C. Chairman Mike Causey wants to share precautions to ensure your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.
“Millions of people will be driving on our roads and highways in North Carolina during Thanksgiving. It’s one of the busiest times of the year,” said Commissioner Causey. “But wintry weather and long distances present safety hazards families need to heed in order to stay safe,” he said.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, 1,442 people died as a result of traffic accidents in 2018, which is a 3.3% increase from the previous year. During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday season, there were 2,957 traffic accidents in North Carolina resulting in 1,155 injuries and 20 deaths.
Commissioner Causey offered the following safety tips to keep your family safe during the holidays:
- Check your car seat before holiday travel. 73 percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly. If you have questions or concerns, certified child passenger safety technicians are able to help install or ensure the seat is correctly installed.
- Use booster seats. Kids who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are not ready for a seat belt or the front seat. They are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Even when children have graduated from booster seats, they should remain in the back seat until they reach the age of 13.
- Bulky coats and car seats don’t mix. If it’s cold outside, cover babies and young children with a thick blanket to keep them warm after they’re securely strapped into their seat. Bulky winter clothes and coats can inhibit a car seat from doing its job.
- Have an exit strategy. If you need to change a diaper or feed your children, take the time to safely stop at the nearest exit to do so. Stopping along the roadway can be hazardous to the occupants in your car or the vehicles that need to pass you.
- Remember the car seat for air travel. If you plan to travel by air this holiday season, be sure to bring your child’s car seat onto the plane. Check to ensure the car seat is labeled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” For babies and toddlers, this is the safest way to travel.
To learn more safety tips for children, visit: http://www.safekids.org/safetytips.
Safe Kids North Carolina is dedicated to preventing childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in North Carolina. For more information, contact Director Shannon Bullock at 919.647.0081 or [email protected].