DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional death for children. Across the nation in 2007, 6,532 passenger vehicle occupants 14 and younger were involved in fatal crashes, according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And yet, statistics show 80 percent of child safety seats in Illinois are installed improperly.
That’s why the Illinois State Police District 15 and the Illinois Tollway are urging parents and caregivers to attend a “National Seat Check Saturday” event on September 12, including one at the Tollway’s maintenance site in Downers Grove. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week September 12-18, Illinois State Police District 15 and the Tollway will have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to check child safety seats and help with proper installation.
“District 15 is committed to ensuring safety for drivers and young passengers on the Illinois Tollway. Even small errors can make the difference in whether a child is injured in a car accident,” said District 15 Commander John Jesernik. “Some of the more common problems our inspectors pinpoint include too much slack in harness straps, not properly anchoring the car seat, improper seat size for the child’s weight, and the need for, or use of, booster seats for older children.”
Under Illinois law, parents and caregivers are required to properly secure children 8 years and under in an appropriate child-restraint system, which includes rear-facing seats for infants, front-facing child seats for toddlers and pre-schoolers and booster seats for young children. In addition, it is recommended that all children younger than 13 ride in the back seat.
Downers Grove Maintenance Site Safety Seat Event Details
Illinois State Police certified child passenger safety technicians will be at the Downers Grove Maintenance Site – accessible from the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355) at milepost 21.5 or via Finley Road – to check for proper installation of child seats.
To access the Tollway’s Downers Grove Maintenance Site from westbound Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), take the I-355 north exit ramp to the entrance on the left side of the ramp. From eastbound I-88, go north on I-355 and the entrance to the maintenance site is on the right side at milepost 21.5. From southbound I-355, exit at Butterfield Road (IL 56) and turn east to reach southbound Finley Road. Local traffic can also access the site from Finley Road south of Butterfield Road (IL 56) and north of Ogden Avenue (US 34).
To participate in the event, bring your child safety seats, children and the vehicle in which the child safety seats will be installed. Information on recalls and recall detection, correct positioning, correct sizing to protect the child most effectively, plus additional safety information and resources will be offered.
“Seat belts and child safety seats are the most effective safety devices in vehicles today and save countless lives each year,” said Tollway Acting Executive Director Michael King. “Our law enforcement partners on the Illinois Tollway know this, and that is why they are committed to enforcing seat belt laws and working to educate the public on how to properly secure their children to make every trip a safe trip.”
Child Safety Seat Basics
The safest place for infants, toddlers, and young children to ride is in the back seat with the appropriate child safety seat for their age and size. Rear-facing child safety seats protect the growing babies’ head, neck, and back in a crash. Children should ride rear-facing until at least 20 pounds and 12 months of age, longer if possible to protect their developing muscles and bones. Toddlers and young children up to 4 years old should ride in a child safety seat with an internal harness until they reach the maximum harness limit of up to 40 pounds.
A booster seat is the most effective way to position a safety belt properly on a young child's growing body. Safety belts are designed for adults who are at least 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches tall. Until age 8, most children have not developed strong hipbones and their legs and bodies are too short for the adult safety belt to fit correctly without use of a booster seat.
Child Passenger Safety Week
For more information on Child Passenger Safety Week, a national effort to remind parents and caregivers of the lifesaving effect child safety seats have in protecting young children, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/cps. For information regarding additional Seat Check Saturday events in other areas please go to www.buckleupillinois.org.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94, I-294, I-80). Get I-PASS & Get Going!