West Traffic Division
Captain’s Message - February 2014
The focus of the Traffic Education-Enforcement Calendar for February 2014 is Child Passenger Safety, including the proper use of child restraints. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association’s (NHTSA) Operation America Buckles-Up Children (“ABC”) Mobilization is one of the child safety education and enforcement details that is a priority for West Traffic Division officers.
Please remember that children are particularly susceptible to severe injuries and death due to their smaller size and their less developed physical state. Whenever children are inside vehicles, they MUST be properly secured, not only for their own safety but also to decrease their interference with the driver. Child passenger restraints have been developed to help decrease injuries and deaths and increase the chance for the child’s survival when involved in a traffic collision.
The NHTSA says that 75 percent of children are riding in car seats that are not properly installed or don’t fit correctly.
As children grow, how they sit in your car, truck or SUV will change. You can save your child from injury or death by utilizing the following four-step process:
Step 1: Rear-Facing Seats (Infants to Toddlers)
Infants from birth to at least 1 year of age and at least 20 lbs. need to be secured in an Infant-Only Seat and placed facing to the rear or secured in a Convertible Seat used facing to the rear. The seat should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belts or by the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) Restraint System. The LATCH system incorporates a lower anchor and tether combination for children. Never use child seats in a vehicle’s front seat where an air bag is present. The child seat should be installed tightly in the rear seat facing to the rear and recline at approximately a 30 to 45 degree angle. The harness straps should be placed at or below the child’s shoulder level, with the harness straps snug on the child and the harness clip at the child’s armpit level.
If a child is LESS than 1 year of age and 20 to 35 pounds, a Convertible Seat recommended for heavier infants should be used facing to the rear. The seat should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belts or by the LATCH System. The above attachment recommendations also apply.
Step 2: Forward-Facing Seats (Toddlers)
When children outgrow their rear-facing sears (at a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds), they should ride in a Convertible Seat facing forward, a Forward Facing Only seat, or a High Back Booster/Harness. The seat should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belts or by the LATCH System. The above attachment recommendations also apply.
They should stay in these seats until they reach the upper weight or height limit for the particular seat, which is usually around age 4 and 40 pounds.
Step 3: Booster Seats (Grade School)
Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually age 4 and 40 pounds) a booster (a base with no back) or High Back Belt-Positioning Booster should be used. Never use these backless booster seats with lap-only belts or seated position with no headrest. Belt-positioning boosters are always used with lap and shoulder belts and should be used in the rear seat. The shoulder belt should rest snugly across the chest and shoulder and should never be placed under the arm or behind the back. The lap belt should rest low across the lap/upper thigh area and not across the stomach. A new law as of January 1, 2012, states that all children under 8 years and less than 4’9” tall MUST be in a child restraint in the back seat.
Step 4: Seat Belts
Once children outgrow their booster seats (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall) may use the adult seat belt in the back seat, IF it fits properly with the lap belt laying across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt across the chest.
For the California Office of Traffic Safety “4 Steps For Kids” safety poster, click here:
For the California Child Restraint Law Safety Brochure in ENGLISH, click here:
If you would like the safety brochure in SPANISH, click here:
Certified WTD officers assigned to CTSU can assist you with the proper installation of a child safety seat for free. Please call the CTSU office at 213-473-0215 to schedule an appointment.
For more information about child safety seats, booster seats, inspection/fitting stations, installation tips, ratings, recalls, air bags, and other highway safety issues, go to http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov or call the DOT Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Community Traffic Services Unit (CTSU) is one of the specialized units operating as a part of West Traffic Division that works to resolve particular community concerns. As mentioned above, an officer assigned to CTSU can assist you with proper installation of a child safety seat. Please call the CTSU office at 213-473-0215 to schedule an appointment. Also, if you have traffic safety concerns in a particular area, you may contact CTSU at 213-473-0215 or West Traffic Division at 213-473-0222 to voice your concerns. Also, please see CTSU's Web Page under "About West Traffic" listed under the West Traffic Division Newsletter Web Page.
The areas within Operations-West Bureau and West Traffic Division are Hollywood, Wilshire, West Los Angeles, Pacific, and Olympic Areas. Any of the geographical areas' WebPages can be accessed via LAPDOnline. Please check the Crime Prevention Circular for the areas that are of particular interest to you.
Captain Rolando Solano
West Traffic Division
* ALWAYS wear your seatbelt and be sure your passengers, especially children, are properly secured.
* Don’t drink and drive.
* Don’t text and drive.
* Look both ways TWICE before crossing the street.
* Please slow down. Speed kills.
* Pull over safely to the side of the road if you need to use your cell phone, mp3, or GPS.