Friday, September 14, 2007

Please use and check your children's car seats!

Two small children, involved in separate accidents in my city have had to be airlifted to a Children's Hospital in Tampa with serious injuries. One was a 6 month old infant involved in a head on collision on a road with a 30mph speed limit. The other was a 3 year old sitting unrestrained in the passenger seat while her mother turned into a side street into the path of oncoming traffic which could not avoid hitting her. The car was hit exactly where the 3 year old was sitting.

There are no reports of how the infant in the first accident was or was not restrained - it has me wondering though. The second accident happened in a not so good part of town, and the mother/driver refused a blood test. I could make many judgments based on these facts, but will avoid doing so since that's not the point of my post.

As responsible parents, many of us research safety ratings of equipment we use for our kids. There are many expensive car seat options out there. None of which are any use whatsoever if 1. they are not installed, or 2. not installed correctly.

The statistic in my county is that 95% of car seats are installed incorrectly. So, 95% of kids traveling around are not adequately protected in the event of an accident. In addition, poorly installed car seats can be the cause of injury in an accident where the child is injured by the straps or the chest buckle for example.

We read our owner's manuals for our kids' car seats - the infant seat, and later the convertible car seats. We followed the instructions to a 't'. Wanting to be absolutely sure they were installed correctly, I have had them checked by a certified car seat technician each time. Each time she has helped me improve the installation - so despite our best efforts, the seats were not in fact installed 100% correctly.

For a few minutes of my time, I have the advice of a specialist, and have her overview my technique in installing the seats, and importantly, in positioning the child, and the straps in the seats. With this comes the peace of mind that I have protected my children as well as I can by restraining them appropriately in the car.

Please have your children's car seats inspected by a qualified technician. You can find one in your area by contacting your local hospital, or your County Sheriff's Department. Do it today! You can check out Safekids USA for information on your State's specific safety laws and requirements.

You should also ensure that every adult traveling in your car wears a seat belt. Adults not restrained by a seat belt can become a deadly missile in the event of an accident, further endangering your children in the back.

As my Mum has often said to me, people wouldn't dream of transporting their breakables when moving house or after buying some expensive item, without wrapping them in bubble wrap and securing them appropriately. People need to afford the same duty of care to their kids!

16 comments:

Life As I Know It said...

Great post. I am always worried about my kids being safely secured...kind of have a fear of car accidents.
Thanks for the reminder!

Mom Chatter said...

Thanks for this reminder! Just wanted to add, my state has recently passed new car seat laws. Not only get car seat installation inspected, but definitely go check your state's car seat laws, too... they may not be what you think they are!

Kimberly said...

Well put!

dawn224 said...

Yes, great post.

It probably bears mentioning that *anything* unrestrained in your car can become a missile. Something I have to remind myself of when the car becomes too much of a landfill.

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

Thank you!!! I can't understand why people in this day and age don't use carseats.

Bananas said...

Great post on an important topic. It's easy to get lazy or sloppy, especially as the wee ones get bigger. But safety is SO IMPORTANT!!!

Christine said...

Great post. Thank you!

shauna said...

What a great post! And so true. When my oldest two were 15 and 3 months we were involved in an accident on the highway (a semi lost one of its wheels and it came barreling into our SUV, which was totaled). Both my kids were in the back seat in their car seats--neither had one scratch. The nurse on duty said they would have died had they not been strapped in. She also said they would have been injured had the seats not been properly installed. You can often have your car seats checked for proper installation--for free.

What a great reminder, Annie!

Zephra said...

I always get so angry when I see kids bouncing around unrestrained. I wonder why someone would take such a chance with their child's life?

my minivan is faster than yours said...

This is such an important post. Extra important for mothers of older kids who can loosen the seat themselves. Gotta pull over when they do that. Every. Singe. Time.

lady macleod said...

Absoulutely!!! Well said. This was a pet peeve of mine when Q was wee. The U.S. is such a car society, yet you would turn your child into a missle? Which is what happens in a collision. Good stuff my dear. Reminders are important.

andi said...

Great post, Annie! When Elliot was a baby I had to get one of the community health nurses help me with the car seat otherwise I wouldn't have done it properly. Two university degrees between the husband and I and we still couldn't figure out the bloody thing! It would be nice if the instructions for installation were clearer in some cases.

T with Honey said...

That's a great reminder!
We had Princess's car seat checked by a technician this summer and it was a great feeling to know that we had installed it perfectly! But they still uncovered one small issue. We had a seat protector under it and they advised against it. Sometime the material is too slippery and most haven't been crash tested. Instead they recommended using a sheet of grippy shelf paper.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

It's not just when they're car seat age that you need to worry. My nephew's ex-wife was caught driving the wrong way on I-75, drunk, with his 6-year-old daughter in the back seat. The ex went to jail briefly for that and was denied any access to the child. But now she's conned another judge into letting her see her daughter again.

Oh, The Joys said...

A good reminder! THank you!

Amara said...

Keep up the good work.