D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, to host events last week that offered free child safety seat inspections for National Child Passenger Safety Week.
Officers checked child safety seats at events on New York Avenue Northwest and Central Avenue Southeast as police tried to reach their goal to install or check 250 child safety seats throughout the week. The MPD also gave away five free booster seats to District parents.
D.C. law requires that children under 8 years of age must be seated properly in an installed infant, toddler or booster child seat. Penalties for violating this law include a fine of at least $75.
According to data from the NHTSA, an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraint systems from 1975 to 2008. But D.C. police warn that parents are not using the full range of safety seats up to age 8.
According to the MPD website, the department "encourages all parents and caregivers to know about and follow the law, to acquire and use age-appropriate child safety restraints, to have their child safety seats inspected, and to follow the four essential steps to protecting children in motor vehicles."