When you're traveling Alaska's challenging roads, there's one priority that should be top of mind. That's the safety and well being of your children and family.

On this Travel Tuesday, Sara Penisten Turcic with Safe Kids Alaska and the Providence Medical Center stopped by KTVA 11's Daybreak to discuss National Child Passenger Safety Week and a free child car seat and booster safety check in Anchorage.

According to SafeKids.org:

•     Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the U.S.
•     Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%.
•     More than half of car seats are not used or installed correctly.

Turcic says that a common mistake parents make is not securing their children in their vehicle properly.

"Harness straps often are not secured tightly enough over the child's shoulders." she said. "With infants, these harness straps should be either at the level of the child's shoulders or down behind them a little bit where they're inserting in the car seat. These should be so snug that we cannot pinch and hold any strap in our fingers."

While the harness straps shouldn't be tight enough to cause harm to the child, they need to be secured in the event of an accident. Turcic says there are two equations to keep in mind when securing a car seat.

"Part of the job is getting the child secured correctly in the seat itself. The other part of the job is securing the car seat appropriately in the vehicle," she said. "We see a lot of misuse in that realm as well."

There are many things you should and shouldn't do when it comes to child passenger safety. A free car and booster seat checkup event is happening from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18., at Fire Station #6 in Anchorage for those who want more information.

Turcic says it's a great resource for families. adding there may be car seats available on site.

"Folks can come with their car seats, their vehicles and the kids and certified technicians will help them to be sure they know how to install their car seat correctly," she said. "In the event we have a car seat come in that maybe is expired or recalled or we find that it's broken, we will assist families to decide what is the best course for them."

For more information about car seat safety in Alaska, visit www.carseatsak.org.

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