MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Department of Public Safety (DPS) said more than half of the children killed or injured in accidents are not properly restrained.
The DPS said from 2006-2010 there were 30 children (ages 0-7) killed and 4,021 were injured. Among them, only 53 percent of the victims were properly secured.
Child restraints are often used incorrectly, according to the DPS, and that’s why they’re emphasizing it during Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from Sept 18-24.
“Parents need to take the time to properly secure their child and have them in the correct restraint for their size and age,” said Heather Darby, child passenger safety coordinator at the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.
WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports
Darby said parents are often unsure of the restraints people need to use as their kids age and grow. She said it starts with rear-facing infant seats, then forward-facing toddler seats, followed by booster seats, and finally seat belts.
Booster seats lift a child up so seat belts fit properly. Darby said kids transition to them after they grow out of the forward facing toddler seats, usually between 40-60 pounds.
Darby reminds people that booster seats are required by law in Minnesota. The law says a child must ride in a booster until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever comes first. But the DPS suggests going by height.
The DPS said three out of four child restraints are used incorrectly and that means kids are riding in the wrong restraint or ones that aren’t properly secured.
They said the biggest safety mistakes when it comes to kids riding in cars are:
• Turning a child from a rear-facing restraint to a forward-facing restraint too soon.
• Restraint is not secured tight enough — it should not shift more than one inch side-to-side or out from the seat.
• Harness on the child is not tight enough — if you can pinch harness material, it’s too loose.
• Retainer clip is up too high or too low — should be at the child’s armpit level.
• Child is in the wrong restraint — don’t rush a child into a seat belt.
If you want more information on how to restrain children properly or the laws, click here.