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Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Roberto Rodriguez, Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 18, 2003
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Bob Gaydosh (HTS) (609) 633-9022

New Jersey Hosts Child Passenger Safety Conference


(Bridgewater) - Child passenger safety advocates from New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut have come together to discuss recent trends and advances relating to the safe transport of children in motor vehicles. The 3rd Annual Child Passenger Safety Technical Conference, taking place today through Saturday at the Bridgewater Marriott, is hosted by the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the AAA Clubs of New Jersey and New York.

“I can think of no mission more important than protecting our children,” said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. “We know that parental misuse of vehicle child seats is high because of confusion and misinformation. This week’s conference will enhance the training of people who will in turn teach parents in our state how to transport their children safely.”

The key mission of the 450 child passenger safety advocates attending the conference is to make sure that all children are properly restrained on every trip in a motor vehicle. New Jersey Child’s Passenger Safety Law requires all children under 8 years old or 80 pounds to be properly secured in an age-appropriate child seat. Violation of the law carries a $44 penalty.

Conference highlights include workshops and expert speakers on issues such as transporting children with special needs, balancing education and enforcement, enhancing child passenger safety within inner city populations and hosting a successful child seat check event.

“New Jersey is committed to the safe transportation of children,” said Roberto Rodriguez, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “In recent years the Division has overseen the certification of more than 850 Child Passenger Safety Technicians in New Jersey who are now assisting parents at the local level in properly installing child seats in their vehicles.”

During the opening session of the conference this morning, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded a $177,000 Child Passenger Protection Education Grant to New Jersey. The funds will be used to enhance child passenger protection programs in the state. In all, forty-eight states including New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Indian Nations and four territories received the grant funding.

“Although restraint use for infants and toddlers is at an all time high, as many as four out of five infants and toddlers are placed in car seats incorrectly or moved to safety belts before they are physically ready,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Otis G. Cox, Jr. said. “These funds will help states educate parents and caregivers on how to transport their children in the safest possible way.”

The grant will fund activities including child safety seat check events, permanent fitting stations and education and outreach programs with a special emphasis on low-income and minority communities.

The Mission of the Division of Highway of Highway Traffic Safety is to reduce fatalities, injuries and property damage on the roads of New Jersey resulting from traffic crashes. To achieve its mission, the Division undertakes traffic safety programs relating to Education, Enforcement and Engineering. The bulk of the Division’s funding comes from the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The funding received by the Division is used to undertake state-wide traffic safety programs and is also dispersed to local, county and state agencies in the form of traffic safety grants.

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