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Sheriff's office begins effort to educate the public about seatbelt and child seat laws

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office has joined law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to educate the public about seatbelt and child seat laws.

The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office has joined law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to educate the public about seatbelt and child seat laws, including a law adopted in 2017 and designed to enhance safety for children under the age of two.

The effort will continue through Sunday, Feb. 7, and the overtime hours needed to make it happen are being funded via a grant from the federal government.

The reasons law enforcement agencies are taking on such a daunting task are myriad, plentiful and based on data collected at the state and federal levels. For instance, crash data gathered by the Oregon Department of Transportation shows that in 2018 the lack of seatbelt or child restraints was a factor in 28%, or 86, of the 311 fatalities suffered that year in the state.

According to a press release, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 1 to 12 across the nation. In Oregon alone, 1,832 children under age 12 were injured in traffic crashes in 2018; 11% were not secured in child restraints.

"It is estimated that car seats may increase crash survival by 71% for infants under 1 year old and by up to 59% for toddlers age 1 to 4," the release said. "Booster seats may reduce the chance of nonfatal injury among to 4- to 8-year-olds by 45% compared to safety belts used alone."

National statistics also show that seatbelts, worn properly, can reduce the risk of injury or death in a major crash by up to 65%.

ODOT is also taking the opportunity to remind motorists of the 2017 law requiring children to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are at least 2 years old, when they must continue to ride in a car seat with harness or in a booster seat until reach age 8 or 4-foot-9 inches tall and an adult seatbelt fits them properly. The law was passed in an effort to "better protect the child's head, neck and spine from potential neck injuries.

"This is because a rear-facing seat spreads crash forces evenly across the seat and child's body while also limiting forward or sideway motion of the head," the release said.

Proper fit and installation of child car seats is important and can generally be done using instructions from the seat manufacturer, vehicle owner's manual or via the websites bit.ly/3pHMKk9 or bit.ly/3pHmXZC.


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