Campaign Runs From July 13 Through July 28

WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new push to get parents to keep their children safe in the back seat this summer.

New York State Police announced Wednesday that they will be partnering with State Park Police to crack down on seat belt use and child passenger safety violations.

Police will be setting up checkpoints at state parks and beaches starting this weekend as part of the “Buckle Up New York Summer Parks Initiative,” which runs from July 13 through July 28.

“Occupant safety starts when you leave for the day of recreation and must continue on throughout your trip home, yes, even when the kids are tired, fussy, sun-burnt and home is only a few minutes away,” one officer said.

Police said this is the time of year when the violations seem to happen the most.

“We’re squeezing people in to accommodate as many family members as we can and it’s a problem,” New York State Park Police Chief Richard O’Donnell told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

Officials noted that in just one day last year at one state park police issued 93 violations, Gusoff reported.

Parents and caregivers are reminded that:

  • Children under 16 are required to wear a seat belt in the back seat
  • Children under 8 must use a booster seat
  • Children between 2 and 4 years old must be in a five-point harness
  • Children under 2 must be in a rear-facing car seat.

There’s also an effort in Albany to require seat belts for adults in the back seat.

“The back seat occupants, if they’re unrestrained, will fly over the front seat and that’s deadly,” Assemblyman David McDonough told Gusoff.

Some parents said the new awareness campaign and crackdown is a good reminder to those who may skirt the rules.

“You’re gonna risk your child, God forbid anything happens, while you’re driving home?” North Bellmore mom Michelle Lobrutto told Gusoff.

Police said they’ll be out in force starting this weekend, writing tickets and reminding drivers that everyone in their car is three times more likely to die in a crash if they’re not properly buckled in.

According to police, 10 percent of drivers break seat belt and car seat laws.

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