Child Carseat Safety

  • Published
  • By Lisa Holland
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Buckling up little ones in a child safety seat is easy, right? Little ones are always so happy and eager to be buckled up in their car seats in the back seat all by themselves. Not so in the real world.

"Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them [safety seats] to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants less than one year old and by 54 percent for toddlers ages one to four in passenger cars," said Mike Matthews, 97th Air Mobility Wing grounds safety manager.

"Failure to use occupant protective device, such as safety belts, child safety seats and personal protective equipment shall be enforced as a primary traffic violation on Air Force installations," according to Air Force Instruction 91-207, United States Air Force Traffic Safety Program, Paragraph 3.5.6.

Some people say their little ones cry and don't want to stay in their car seats.

It's always hard for parents not to react when their little ones are crying. First, see if the little one needs a diaper change or is hungry. Next, make sure the car seat is properly fastened and nothing is pinching the baby, said Matthews.

"What is harder, a baby crying for a few months or parents' mourning for the rest of their lives? Even a relatively minor crash can be an extremely violent event. An unrestrained passenger can be thrown with a force that is several times his or her weight," said Matthews.

Some people say they want their little ones to sit up front instead of the back seat all by themselves. "The rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride," said Matthews.

An infant in a rear-facing child seat must ride in the back seat if the vehicle has a passenger air bag. Infants below 20 pounds should always ride in a rear-facing seat. Make sure everyone in the front seat is properly buckled up and seated as far back from the air bags as reasonably possible, said Matthews.

Make sure all young children are properly secured in a child safety seat. Vehicle owner's manuals and child safety seat instructions show how to properly install child safety seats, said Matthews.

Most new cars have air bags for front-seat passengers. In a crash, the air bag inflates very quickly. It could hit anyone close to the dashboard with enough force to cause severe injuries or even death. Because the back of a rear-facing child seat sits very close to the dashboard, the seat could be struck with enough force to cause serious or even fatal injuries to a baby, said Matthews.

Some people say they can't afford to buy the next level of car seat according to the height and weight.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office Web site has a list of agencies that may be able to help. Parents who participate in the Women Infant Children program can contact the Jackson County Health Department in Altus at (580) 482-7308 for help getting a car seat for their child.

Help save your child's life. Always make sure your child is in the proper car seat at all times. It is the law.