A four year old girl escaped a fatal car accident over the weekend unscathed, and officials say if it weren’t for her car seat, the outcome may have been very different. Corporal Benjamin Seibert of the Mississippi Highway Patrol says, "I don’t have any question in my mind that it would have been absolutely horrible if she wouldn’t have had that child seat, but she was properly restrained in the car seat."
The four year old girl involved in the accident may not be with us today if it weren’t for the car seat, and the Mississippi Highway Patrol offers an important tip that’s often overlooked when installing a car seat: make sure the seat belt is all the way pulled and ratchets before fishing it through and buckling it. Seibert also says, "You want to take all the slack out of it, out of the latch system or the seat belt that’s attaching the car seat to the seat. You want to take all the slack out of it because that’s going to keep the child seat attached tight to the seat in case of a collision."
Officials say that just because a child is in a car seat doesn’t mean they are safe, and it’s important to make sure the type of car seat you’re getting is right for your child. Jackie Rhodes, Public Information Officer for the Biloxi Police Department, says, "It’s important not to just grab any old car seat for your child. Make sure that the child and the car seat match. There’s different size car seats for different weight children."
Not only is it a safety precaution, it’s the law. Seibert says, "It is the law. Anyone under 4 years old needs to be in a full size child seat and then after that, they need to be in a booster seat until they are 4ft 9 or 65 lbs. or 7 years of age." Rhodes closes, "Just be careful. The kids are our future. We want to take care of them."
If you’re unsure about your child’s car seat, you can always stop by any law enforcement agency to learn how to properly install a seat.