In an effort to help keep kids safe and parents worry-free this summer, the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois State Police District 15 have scheduled a free Kids Identification and Safety Seat (K.I.S.S.) event at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are invited to stop by to create kids' identification cards and get help with child safety seat installations.
The K.I.S.S. event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 20, at the DuPage Children's Museum, 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville. The event will take place in the museum parking lot.
"We want to make sure our customers are as safe as can be this summer travel season," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "K.I.S.S. events are quick, easy and can make a big difference."
New this year, specially trained professionals will be available to take kids' photographs and fingerprints and gather vital information to include on two personal identification cards - one for home and one for a wallet or purse. This information will not be stored by police, but rather, used by parents and others in the event of an emergency.
More than 2,100 children - almost two children per minute - are reported missing every day in the United States. Law enforcement and others need proper identification that is immediately available before they can take action. Many lost children can be located if parents immediately provide police with an accurate description of the child.
As in past years, the K.I.S.S. event will provide certified child passenger safety technicians to inspect and install child safety seats and help drivers stay up to date with the latest safety seat information and educational materials. Properly installed safety seats eliminate a potential distraction for drivers and significantly reduce the risk of injury or greater tragedy for children in the event of an accident. And yet, 80 percent of child safety seats in Illinois are improperly installed.
K.I.S.S. events offer a convenient way for drivers to make sure they comply with Illinois law, which requires that whenever a person is transporting a child under age 8, the person is responsible for properly securing the child in an appropriate child restraint system.
"Safety seats save lives," said District 15 Commander John Jesernik. "And, we know that in the car, even small errors parents make when installing child safety seats can make the difference in whether or not a child is injured in a car accident."
To participate in the K.I.S.S. events, parents and caregivers should bring 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 at these events.
K.I.S.S. events are scheduled at a variety of locations along the 286-mile Illinois Tollway system. For more information about K.I.S.S events, visit the Tollway's Web site at www.illinoistollway.com.
Child Safety Seat Basics
The safest place for infants, toddlers and young children to ride is in the backseat with the appropriate child safety seat for their age and weight. Some of the more common problems District 15 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 booster seats for older children.
Infants should ride rear-facing until at least 20 pounds and 12 months of age, longer if possible, to protect their developing muscles and bones. Rear-facing child safety seats protect a growing baby's head, neck and back in an accident. 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 body are too short for the adult safety belt to fit correctly, without use of a booster seat.
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