M.D.O.T. Announces Child Passenger Safety Week
Every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a car crash, and the difference between life and death can come down to whether the child is properly restrained. Benjamin Seibert of the Mississippi Highway Patrol says, “I have worked wrecks where those child seats have saved lives, especially in a rollover.”
Law officers say most parents put their children in some type of car seat, but they don’t always do it the right way. Pediatrician, Kimberly Robinson, says during annual checkups, she reiterates car seat safety to parents. Robinson says, “For example, in a rear-facing car seat, you want your harness below the shoulders, and in a forward-facing car seat, you want them above the shoulders.”
Mississippi law states a child under 4 years of age must be in a full-sized child seat, and children ages 3 to 7 need to be in a full-sized booster seat, but children should stay in a booster seat until they are 4′ 9" or weigh 65 pounds.
Any child under 8 years old needs to be buckled, whether they’re in the front or back seat, but law enforcement says not everyone follows these rules. Seibert also says, “The biggest thing is parents not strapping them in at all, or they’ll have a small car and they’ll load several children into it. We’ll have two kids sharing a seat belt.”
Another common mistake parents make is not using the seat belt to properly restrain the car seat. Robinson closes, “Always make sure you look at your manufacture label. All car seats are different and they will tell you kind of instructions on how to do that.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests keeping a child in a rear-facing seat until they are 2 and keeping children under 13 in the back seat.
New or expecting parents can get more information about child care and safety this weekend at WXXV and Gulfport OBGYN’s Baby Palooza. The event will be hosted this Saturday, September 20th, at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The first 400 visitors will receive Garden Park V.I.P. bags filled with gifts and discounts.