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Press Release

Release Date: October 18, 2019

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



  • As children grow, their car and booster seats should grow with them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 60% of child seats are installed incorrectly.

The Chickasaw Nation Car Seat Safety Program will host a community car seat check event, Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at Pontotoc County Agri-Plex in Ada, Oklahoma. Families are invited to receive a car and booster seat check at no charge, completed by certified passenger safety technicians.

“Technicians attend a nationally certified three-day training session presented by Safe Kids,” said Becky Anoatubby, program manager. “It is an extremely in-depth class that teaches the parts of the different kinds of child safety seats, how they operate and how the seats operate in different cars.”

Safe Kids is a worldwide organization that provides training for certified passenger safety technicians. Technicians ensure child safety and booster seats are properly installed in the vehicles, are in good condition and fit the child. Common installation mistakes include loose belts, incorrect shoulder strap position and the wrong style of safety seats used based on weight and height.

Devoted to the safety of children within the community, the Chickasaw Nation has nearly 50 employees trained as passenger safety technicians. They are based within child care, Head Start, transportation and WIC programs, among other areas.

Car seat safety inspections are available to the community. Technicians can determine if a new car seat is needed. Replacement seats may be available at no cost for those that have been recalled, are expired or are poorly fitting.

While it is estimated nearly 60% of all child safety seats are installed incorrectly or are not being used properly, the Chickasaw Nation Car Seat Safety Program has found these numbers alarmingly higher.

“During our car safety checks, 75% of the seats checked are either not installed correctly, placed in the wrong area of the car or aren’t the right size for the children who use them,” Mrs. Anoatubby said.

During the car seat safety check at Pontotoc County Agri-Plex, families are also welcome to enjoy games, food and other activities. Information booths will be available to parents for information concerning Chickasaw Nation programs and services.

For more information, call (580) 421-7711 or visit Chickasaw.net/CarSeat.

About car and booster seat safety

Car and booster seats are one of the most important safety devices children use on a daily basis. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, car fatalities are the leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Checked often, car and booster seats save lives.

“Properly installed car seats keep children safe by making sure they are secure within the car,” Mrs. Anoatubby said. “For older children, booster seats enable the car’s own safety belts to fit properly on the body, over the lap and across the chest instead of the belly, neck or face.”

As a child grows, safety and booster seats should grow with them. According to information provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, children under the age of two should ride in rear-facing car seats situated in the back passenger seats of a vehicle. Children should remain in the rear-facing position until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer.

Once a child outgrows the rear-facing seat, he or she should transition into a forward facing seat with a harness and tether. This is usually between the ages of four to seven. A child who outgrows the forward facing seat should then be placed in a booster seat.

Car seats need to be installed using lower anchors. If a seat belt is chosen for car seat installation, close attention must be paid to how the seat belt locks into place. This can be found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

The owner’s manuals of both the car seat and the vehicle are important for proper safety seat installation. The car owner’s manual details weight limits for lower anchors, as well as where they are located. The car seat owner’s manual includes how the safety seat works, guidance on usage according to the size of a child and how to reposition it as the child grows.

Booster seats should be used until the child is big enough to use a seat belt correctly (approximately 4’9” tall). The booster seat should allow the car’s seat belt to fit across the upper thighs, while the shoulder belt should lie snuggly across the shoulder and chest. Seat belts should not cross the stomach, and shoulder belts should be clear of the child’s face and neck.

Booster seats should be used until the child is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly, and young passengers should continue to ride in the back seat until age 13. It is the safest area in the car.

Leaving children in hot cars can be deadly

According to information provided by the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 40 children died as a result of being left in hot cars in 2019. These deaths could have easily been averted.

Drivers should never leave a child alone in a vehicle or leave a vehicle where a child could get inside alone.

Temperature inside automobiles can reach life-threating levels even on mild or cold days. Leaving windows cracked or down has little effect on the interior temperatures in cars.

The research conducted by the NSC found three primary causes that result in deaths of children in hot cars. These include caregivers forgetting children are in the vehicle, children gaining access to the vehicle by themselves and adults knowingly leaving children in the vehicle.

The vast majority of deaths were caused by caregivers forgetting children were in their car. To reduce the risk of forgetting a child, the NSC advises caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions when exiting vehicles. Car doors should be locked so children cannot gain access to a car. Caregivers should never knowingly leave a child in a car for any reason.

Technology in car seats is playing a role in saving the lives of children. This technology generates a series of tones activated through a "smart" chest clip and wireless receiver to remind the driver that a child is in the rear seat within two seconds of turning off the vehicle.