The Dangers Of Not Using Child Safety Seats

Tuesday, April 3rd 2007, 4:30 pm
By: News On 6

A two year old boy, who was ejected from a car after being hit by a drunk driver, is doing better despite devastating head injuries. The little boy is being transferred to a regular room; he's in speech and physical therapy and is eating and talking, said police. This is good news, since initial reports were that he wasn't expected to live. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports the boy was not in a child safety seat or seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Even a big Suburban wasn't enough to protect a little boy who wasn't belted in when a drunk driver slammed into the vehicle. Police say parents often think it won't happen to them.

"You can't predict when a wreck will take place,” said Tulsa Police Detective Debra Dickens. “If you are involved in a collision your child is going to be a projectile."

Crash tests show just how dangerous it is for children during crashes, and if they're ejected, they often end up with traumatic brain injuries that change their entire lives.

"If we can do something to prevent head injuries, the least we can do is take five minutes out of the day to make sure they're buckled up safely," Dickens said.

Detective Dickens is a big believer in prevention, so she's worked for years to teach parents the right way to install child safety seats, and the right way to buckle in baby. Two big mistakes parents make are not getting the seat in tight enough, and not getting the baby's strap tight enough.

"You need to have one finger between the baby and the strap. If you can wiggle your finger, you need to tighten it up," said Dickens.

In the winter, police say parents should take off their child’s coat before buckling them in, because the seat is designed for baby only, not baby and coat.

"Sometimes, we just read instructions and it's a little harder than we think they are,” Dickens said. “It just helps to have specialists to confirm what you're doing and if it's wrong, advise you on how to make sure your baby goes home safely every night."

EMSA has free car seat check the first Tuesday of every month; they also offer free car seats. SafeKids offers discounted seats and also does free car seat check ups. There is a car seat check up and booster seat giveaway on Saturday, April 7th, at Lacy Park from 10 a.m. until noon. Plus we’ve provided a web exclusive on how to properly install a car seat and buckle baby right, just click here.