National Child Passenger Safety Week tips and reminders

Buckling up should be your priority when entering your vehicle, but ensuring your children are properly buckled up is also very important.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:53 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) -Buckling up should be your priority when entering your vehicle, but ensuring your children are properly buckled up is also very important.

National Child Passenger Safety Week started Monday.

This week serves as a reminder that children should not only be buckled up in a vehicle but also restrained properly to avoid injury in the case of an accident.

“From my experience, I’ve seen more children injured in vehicle accidents when they were restrained, but not restrained properly,” said Tabitha Hutchinson, registered nurse and South Central Regional Medical Center Emergency Department trauma coordinator.

Knowing the requirements that best fit your child’s needs in the car is a must. Depending on their size and weight, this can make a big difference in how they should be sitting.

“Putting a child in a seat belt is the bare minimum whenever you ride in a vehicle,” Hutchinson said. “There are child passenger laws in the state of Mississippi, ages are hard to talk about because children are different sizes but if you go by weight and height, they have to be at least 4′9 inches to wear a seatbelt or over 65 pounds.”

Children are more prone to head and neck injuries if they are involved in an accident. Nobody plans on being in a wreck, so making sure everyone in the car is secured properly can be the difference between life and death.

“Most people are pretty aware of buckling their kids up, but I have seen some several wrecks in my career of 25 years that if the kids would have been buckled up would’ve been a better outcome,” said Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin.

Not only is leaving your child unbuckled dangerous, but it’s also illegal.

“We write tickets for child safety seats before we write tickets for some other things because we want to keep our children safe,” Berlin said. “So, when the accident happens, a baby, a human, or even a child could become a projectile inside of that vehicle and if it’s a bad enough wreck you could lose your life.”

Anna Ehrgott with MDOT said that car crashes without proper restraints can be deadly – especially for children.

“Car crashes are actually a leading cause of death for children, so it is very important to ensure that your child is properly restrained in the proper car seat for their age,” Ehrgott said.

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