In an effort to keep kids safe and parents worry-free this summer, the Illinois Tollway, Illinois State Police District 15 and U.S. Equities Realty have scheduled free Kids Identification and Safety Seat (K.I.S.S.) events at Illinois Tollway Oases in Belvidere, Lake Forest and South Holland. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are invited to stop by to create kids’ identification cards and get help with child safety seat inspections.
A K.I.S.S. event will be held on Friday, June 15, in the westbound side parking lot of the Lake Forest Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94). The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“K.I.S.S. events provide free safety seat checks and I.D. cards to help keep children safe whether they’re on or off the road,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "With more than 80 percent of safety seats in Illinois installed incorrectly, these events provide a valuable service and peace of mind for parents, grandparents and caregivers."
At the Oases events, kids can climb aboard and get behind the wheel of an Illinois Tollway H.E.L.P. truck, while a H.E.L.P. truck driver will be on hand to educate customers about the various roadway assistance services the Tollway provides. At the Lake Forest event, a H.E.L.P. truck will be onsite from 10 a.m. until noon as a touch-a-truck display.
K.I.S.S. events offer the opportunity to have identification cards created for children age 3 and older. Specially-trained professionals will take kids’ photographs and fingerprints and gather vital information to include on two personal identification cards – one for home and one 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. In 2011, District 15 issued nearly 400 kids’ identification cards.
More than 2,100 children – almost two children per minute – are reported missing every day in the United States. Law enforcement and others need proper identification that is immediately available before they can take action. Many lost children can be located if parents immediately provide police with an accurate description of the child.
As in past years, K.I.S.S. events will 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. Properly-installed safety seats eliminate a potential distraction for drivers and significantly reduce the risk of injury or greater tragedy for children in the event of an accident. And yet, 80 percent of child safety seats in Illinois are improperly installed.
“Child safety seats are critical to saving lives,” said District 15 Comdr. Joseph Perez. “But, it’s important that the child safety seat is installed properly to reduce the chances of a child being injured in a car accident.”
K.I.S.S. events also 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. Last year, certified child passenger safety technicians checked a total of 436 child safety seats.
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. While the events are taking place on one side of each Oasis, customers can walk through the building to request assistance from a safety seat technician. There’s no need for customers to drive to the other side.
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 at least 20 pounds and 12 months 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 80 pounds and 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.
- The Illinois Tollway submitted this information.