COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – State officials are reminding motorists of the importance of correctly using child safety seats in keeping kids safe on the road.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said that car crashes are the leading cause of death among children; and with Child Passenger Safety Week approaching, parents and caregivers are advised to learn state laws regarding the use, age, height, and weight restrictions for children in car seats.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 608 child passenger vehicle occupant deaths resulted from traffic crashes in 2019. The data also reports that of the children who died in 2019, at least 38 percent were unrestrained.

“South Carolina state law requires an infant under two years old to be secured in a rear-facing car seat in a rear seat of a vehicle until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat,” said Amanda Renwald, DHEC Child Passenger Safety Instructor and Health Educator.

Officials say if child safety seats are installed correctly, the risk of deadly injuries is reduced by 71 percent among infants and 54 percent among toddlers. In addition, the use of booster seats decreases the risk of nonfatal injuries by 45 percent among children aged four through eight compared to solely using a seat belt.

There will be car seat check events held throughout the state where motorists can have technicians ensure their car seats are installed and used properly. There will also be 145 car seat inspection stations in the state. – Click here to locate an inspection station near you.

More information on child passenger safety can be found at scdhec.gov/carseats, safekids.org/car-seat, and nhtsa.gov/equipment.