Virtually every parent has bent over in the back seat of his or her vehicle and fiddled with the child safety seat, checking the belt, wondering whether the seat should face toward the front or the back, concerned that everything is being done right and promotes maximum safety. That concern is far from misplaced, according to safety experts, and the focus is well-aimed. "Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 2 to 14, largely due to nonuse and misuse of car seats," says Cathleen Lewis, AAA New Jersey director of public affairs. In support of that message, and to promote National Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from September 19 - 25, AAA is providing free child car seat checks on September 25 at its Car Care Center in Springfield. Onsite technicians will examine the condition of safety seats, ensure that they are properly installed, and be available to speak with parents. "The best protection a parent or guardian can offer," says Lewis, "is to make sure their little one is properly secured in a car seat - every trip, every time." Here are some AAA-provided tips: • Rear-facing seats in the back seat from birth to age 1 and at least 20 pounds • Forward-facing toddler seats in the back seat once a rear-facing seat is outgrown • Booster seat in the back seat from about age 4 to, generally, at least age 8 • Seat belts at age 8 and older or taller than 4'9" Related Resource: "AAA to Host Free Child Safety Seat Checks" September 20, 2010