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LOCKPORT – Beginning Monday the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office will be out in full force, partnering with New York State Police and other local law enforcement agencies taking part in the 2013 National Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, according to Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour.

Children under age 8 must use a child restraint, and babies must be in rear-facing infant seats until they are at least 1-year-old and weigh at least 20 pounds, with new recommendations that they be kept in a rear-facing restraint until as close to 2-years-old as possible.

The Sheriff’s Office, based in Lockport, offers a permanent fitting station to check to make sure that restraints fit properly.

“It’s important that everyone buckles up every time they go out, both day and night, and there is no good excuse not to have your children properly buckled,” Voutour said.

“Seat belts save thousands of lives every year, but still far too many motorists are senselessly killed or seriously injured by not wearing them, especially at night when the risk of getting in a crash is even greater,” the sheriff said.

“We want everyone to have a safe summer, but it requires an important step that everyone buckles up prior to heading out on our roadways.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than half of the passengers killed in 2011 were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

It also said crashes were more prevalent at night than during the day. Automobile crashes are the No. 1 killer of children between ages 1 and 12, and 85 percent to 90 percent of all child restraints are installed incorrectly.

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office permanent fitting station is available by appointment for seat checks from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Call Grace Destino at 438-3190 to schedule an appointment. Checkpoints are also offered throughout the county, mainly in the warmer months, with no appointment necessary.

Locations and times for upcoming seat belt checks are available on www.niagarasheriff.com calendar of events.