OUR VIEW: Make sure your children are buckled up

Published 2:16 pm Monday, April 10, 2023

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There’s a reason our children are buckled up safely in car seats. A recent story in LaGrange involved a 4-year-old getting ejected from a car seat and suffering significant injuries. 

While we aren’t going to go back through the details of that specific accident — nor are we going to speculate on how or why it happened — we do hope the incident served as a reminder to buckle your children up.

It’s the law, but it’s also a parent’s responsibility.

According to the Center for Disease Control, car seat use reduces the risk for injury in a crash by 71–82% for children, when compared with seat belt use alone.

That’s an unbelievable statistic, and it validates the use and importance of using a car seat. 

According to the CDC, 40% of 8- to 12-year-olds killed in crashes were not buckled up, compared with 31% of children less than 4 years old. 

Also, researchers who observed children riding in cars in a 2011 study estimated that 46% of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly in a way that could reduce their effectiveness. Car seat misuse estimates are even higher at 59% when booster seats are excluded. The most common errors were the following:

  • Incorrect recline angle for rear-facing car seats
  • Loose installation for all car seats
  • Loose harness for all car seats
  • Harness behind child’s arms, legs, or back in forward-facing car seats
  • Improper lap belt position for booster seats
  • Improper shoulder belt position for booster seats

It’s important to ensure your car seat is correctly installed. Law enforcement will check car seats to ensure they are properly in the vehicle, so if you have any doubt, give one of those police or fire departments a call. 

Once children hit 4-years-old or so, they learn how their car seat works. They know how to loosen it. They know how to unbuckle. It’s important to teach children the dangers of adjusting their car seat, especially while the vehicle is moving.

Car seats stop children from getting hurt in accidents. They prevent ejections. 

Make sure you are properly restraining your child when you drive. Don’t get in a hurry and forget. Don’t be careless.

Nothing is more important than our children. Treat them like the precious cargo they are.