In an effort to keep children safe and parents worry-free this summer, the Illinois Tollway and Illinois State Police District 15 have scheduled a free Kids Identification and Safety Seat (K.I.S.S.) event at Walgreens in Schaumburg this week. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are invited to stop by to create free kids' ID cards and get help with child safety seat inspections.
The free K.I.S.S. event will be held on Friday, August 1, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Walgreens located at 1180 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg. Child safety seat inspections will take place in the parking lot and kids' ID cards will be processed inside the store, with games and giveaway items available for kids. In addition, participants will receive information about health care services at Walgreens, including flu shots, immunizations and school physicals.
"Nearly 90 percent of the child safety seats inspected by the Illinois State Police are improperly installed -- up from 80 percent last year," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "K.I.S.S. events offer free safety seat checks and ID cards to help keep children safe and provide peace of mind for parents, grandparents and caregivers when they're on the road."
K.I.S.S. events also offer parents and caregivers the opportunity to have ID cards created for children age 3 and older. Specially trained professionals will take kids' photographs and fingerprints and gather vital information to include on three personal ID cards -- one for home and two 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. And, it is estimated that 34 percent of American parents wouldn't be able to accurately describe their child to law enforcement, including details of exact height and weight, as well as their child's eye color. Many lost children can be located if parents immediately provide police with an accurate description of the child.
K.I.S.S. events 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.
"Securing proper safety restraints for children is the law and no child should travel in a vehicle without being properly restrained at all times," said District 15 Commander Patrick Kimes. "The certified safety seat technicians at K.I.S.S. events make the adjustments needed to keep all kids safe at every stage of their development."
Nationally, car crashes are the number one killer of children ages 1 through 12, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants younger than 1 year old and by 54 percent for toddlers 1 to 4 years old in passenger cars, according to the NHTSA.
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.
In 2013, the Tollway and District 15 successfully teamed up to host 10 K.I.S.S. events throughout the region. Last year, certified child passenger safety technicians checked a total of 436 child safety seats and issued nearly 1,200 kids ID cards.
To participate, parents, grandparents 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 throughout Northern Illinois. For more information, visit the Tollway's website at www.illinoistollway.com.
Child Safety Seat Basics
The safest place for infants, toddlers and young children to ride is in the back seat 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 2 years 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 age 4 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 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.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).