FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Sunday is the start of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs through Sept. 24. Current studies indicate that one of the leading causes of death for children between 1 and 14 years of age is accidental injury, with motor vehicle-related accidents topping the list. It stands to reason, therefore, that the safe travel of a child in a vehicle is of paramount concern to parents.

You can help prevent these tragedies by ensuring your child is safely secured in a child safety seat that has been properly installed. The type of safety seat suitable for your child will be based on your child's age and weight. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at offers a detailed chart for car seat recommendations and proper usage.
South Carolina safety laws affirm that while riding in a vehicle, children younger than 6 must be properly restrained by an approved child safety seat.

State law also includes the following conditions for compliance:
* Children younger than 1 or weighing less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing child safety seat.
* Children between the ages of 1 and 5, weighing between 20 to 40 pounds, must be in a forward-facing child safety seat.
* Children between the ages of 1 and 5, weighing between 40 to 80 pounds, must be in a booster seat secured by lap/shoulder belt (lap belt alone is not permissible).
* Regardless of age, children weighing 80 pounds or those who can sit straight with his or her back firmly against the back seat and can bend their legs over the seat's edges are not required to be in a booster seat.

In general, children younger than 6 cannot ride in the front seat. The law states that this stipulation is waived if the vehicle does not have a back seat, or if the back seat is occupied by other children younger than 6.

This is the law, and violators are subject to a fine of $150 for the first offense.

Additional information regarding safety seat installation and regulations can be obtained by visiting your local Office of Highway Safety, or call (877) 349-7187.

in the know
Free inspections for Child Passenger Safety Week will be available at the following locations:

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Buy Buy Baby
238 Harbison Blvd.

Wednesday, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Tender Years
6862 Lower Richland Blvd.
Sept. 21, 4 to 6 p.m.
River Front Park
100 Laurel St.

Sept.22, 2 to 3 p.m.
223 Riley St.

Additional Inspection Date:
Oct. 11, 5 to 7 p.m.
EdVenture Children's Museum
211 Gervais St.