You would never knowingly put your child in harm’s way and never want to imagine them involved in a car accident. Yet, young children are involved in motor vehicle accidents every day. Car seats are a basic safety system to protect your child should an accident occur.
By now, you might think every parent has their child in a proper seat. That isn’t the case. Nearly 142,000 seatbelt and car seat violations in 2017.
In 2015 there were 388 children killed in collisions due to no car seat or booster seat. Sixteen children under four years old were killed in motor vehicle accidents that year, and nine of them were not in a booster seat or car seat. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reports that car seats reduce fatalities in infants by 71 percent and reduce fatalities by 54 percent in children 1-4 years old.
Common car seat mistakes
While many of these fatalities involving young children are preventable, the cause isn’t always deliberate negligence. These are common mistakes parents make when installing car seats:
- Lack of LATCH attachments or seatbelt to anchor the seat. If you’re unsure of where LATCH attachments are in your vehicle, you can consult your owner’s manual, repair shop, or ask a friend. You will commonly find these attachments in between the back and seat rests in the back seats of vehicles.
- Replace damaged car seats. Children must be properly harnessed, and if your child’s car seat becomes damaged or inoperable, you must replace it.
- Child is facing the wrong way or in the wrong seat. Remember that children younger than one year must be rear-facing. Never place a rear-facing car seat in in the front seat with an active airbag.
Resources for learning more
The state of Georgia makes it easy to place your precious cargo in the proper safety seat. The Georgia Department of Health offers a course on car seat installation and provides parents with a complementary car seat afterwards. Safe Kids Lowndes is a program offered by Lowndes County Sherriff’s Department to educate parents about proper safety seat installation. Fire and police stations can also assist with the installation of safety seats.
You never want you or your child to become a statistic or cautionary tale. With so many low or no cost options available, there is no excuse not to have your child in the proper safety seat. The resources listed above are great starting points to ensure your child’s safety every time they’re in the vehicle.