November 21, 2022 – The Richmond Ambulance Authority and AAA Mid-Atlantic are asking caregivers to double-check their children’s car seats ahead of traveling for Thanksgiving. AAA predicts holiday travel will be higher than last year, with nearly 55 million people expected to travel this year, including more than 1.4 Million travelers here in Virginia. Ninety-one percent, or more than 1.3 Million Virginians, will be hitting the roads for the long holiday weekend. This means it’s especially important for families traveling out of town for the holiday, or just running those last minute errands, to make sure they have secured their most precious cargo before they drive – their children.

Captain Ronnie Ruffin and RAA Child Passenger Safety Seat Technician says “When traveling the safety of our children has to be a top priority and we cannot stress enough how important a correctly installed car seat is before any holiday trip takes place, no matter how far.“

“Two of the most common mistakes people make when installing child passenger safety seats are installing them too loosely and incorrectly adjusting the harness, leaving kids vulnerable to injury or worse in a crash,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Morgan Dean.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children. According to AAA statistics, two children under 13 were killed every day in 2020 while riding in a vehicle and another 278 were injured. The latest research from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that nearly half (46%) of car seats are misused. Using age- and size-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce serious injury and death.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note kids buckled into car seats were 71% to 82% less likely to incur an injury during an accident compared to those wearing only seat belts.