(LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 2006) — To help keep children safe while they ride in vehicles, the Automobile Club of Southern California, the California Highway Patrol and Babies "R" Us today announced a partnership to provide discounts to help parents replace old, possibly unsafe child safety seats with new seats, according to the Auto Club.
"This is National Child Passenger Safety Week and it is the perfect time to alert parents about the need to make sure their children are riding in safe car seats," said Patrice Frazier, managing director of community relations for the Auto Club. "Too often, children are placed in hand-me-down safety seats or seats that were purchased at a garage sale, thrift store or flea market. Those seats may not be safe and might be good for nothing but the trash dumpster."
The Auto Club and Babies "R" Us are distributing through the Auto Club's 71 offices nearly 8,000 discount coupons for the purchase of a new child safety seat or a booster seat. The coupon is valid for a $10 discount on the purchase of a new seat that costs at least $40 only at Babies "R" Us retail stores. They are not accepted at Toys "R" Us or for online purchases.
California law requires all children to be properly restrained in the back seat of a vehicle in a child safety seat or booster seat until they are at least six years old or weigh 60 pounds.
For decades, the Auto Club has been a leader promoting child safety through educational and legislative efforts, in addition to partnering with various public safety agencies to perform safety seat checks. Seats that are judged to be unsafe by a certified safety seat technician are removed from vehicles and replaced with new seats. Old seats should be destroyed by cutting off the straps and removing and destroying all padded materials, Frazier added.
"Your child is safest in a new child safety seat," Frazier said. "A new seat will have a registration form that, when completed and returned to the manufacturer, will be used to notify the owner if there is a potential recall or defect in the future. New seats also have clearly labeled expiration dates."
A seat's history cannot be known if it is purchased at a garage sale, thrift store or flea market. Safety seats that have been in a crash may not show signs of trauma and may not be safe to use again.
Parents should never put their child in a child safety that is over nine years old. Seats between five and nine years old may be safe if you know it's history, for example, if it's never been in a crash, has a manufacture date and model number sticker, if it has not been recalled, does not have signs of damage such frayed straps, and if it has all the parts and the installation instruction manual.