Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children, and fatalities are on the rise, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

NHTSA statistics show every 33 seconds in 2015, a child under 13 was involved in a crash, and there were 248 children under the age of 5 saved because they were riding in car seats.

"Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe," said Gastonia Police Officer Jackie Quinley. "Car seats matter, and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical."

This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week and some local events are proving that car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference.

On Thursday, Sept. 21 there will be a free car seat check at the Gaston County Health Department at 991 W. Hudson Blvd. from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. There will be many Child Passenger Safety Technicians available to educate parents and caregivers on proper car seat use.

On Saturday, Sept. 23 Safe Kids Gaston County and local officers are partnering with Babies R Us, 2830 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, to celebrate National Seat Check Saturday. Babies R Us will be having a baby fair for new mothers and mothers to be, and Safe Kids Gaston County will be in the parking lot from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. checking car seats and talking to parents and caregivers about proper car seat use.