It’s been one month since Sally and Rick returned home from the hospital after the birth of their new baby boy, Jimmy. He is the most precious baby Sally and Rick have ever seen. They spend most of their days watching him sleep. But today, Sally and Rick decide to take Jimmy for his first trip to the park. The car is loaded and Sally goes to pick up Jimmy from the crib.
“Oh, he is so precious,” Sally says, as she cradles Jimmy and holds him close. “The park is only a five minute drive from here, I’ll just sit in the back seat and hold him.” Rick laughs and smiles at his wife and son, opening the car door for them. They set out on the road approaching an intersection, Sally kissing Jimmy and Rick singing along to the radio.
Cars screech to a halt all around. Passersby run to the middle of the intersection to investigate the now upside down car. Rick lies unconscious in the front seat. Sally, who did not have her seatbelt on, has flown through the front windshield and lies a few feet in front of their crashed car. Her skin is scraped raw by the streets and Jimmy is no longer in her arms.
According to SafeKids Worldwide, “every year, preventable injuries kill almost 1 million children around the world.” Although child deaths in motor vehicle crashes have declined since 1975, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that one of every four unintentional injury deaths among children younger than age 13 happens because of a crash; most occur among children traveling as occupants of motor vehicles. What can we do to reduce these fatalities?
Protecting the FutureFirst, use the correct child restraint or safety seat for your child. Remember to consider your child’s height, age, and weight as seats vary depending on these.
- Infants – use rear facing infant seats
- Toddlers – use forward facing child safety seats
- Children – use booster seats
5 Tips for Safe Child TransportationIn addition to these five tips, always check state laws regarding child passenger safety.
- Right Seat: Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight, and height. Car seats have expiration dates. Make sure to check the date before installation.
- Right Place: Make sure children always ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years of age.
- Right Direction: Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. Usually this means until your child is around two years of age. When he or she outgrows the seat, move the child to a forward-facing car seat. In doing this, make sure to attach the top tether of the car seat after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower seat anchors.
- Inch Test: Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side-to-side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
- Pinch Test: Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check your car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at the armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, the harness and straps are at a safe setting.
Rick laughs and smiles at his wife and son, opening the car door for them. “Sally, you can hold Jimmy again when we arrive at the park, but let’s put him in the car seat,” Rick says. “Like you said, it’s only five minutes and I would rather be safe than sorry.” Sally puts Jimmy in the car seat, double-checking each clasp and belt. After putting on their own seat belts, they set out on the road approaching an intersection, Sally blowing kisses to Jimmy and Rick singing along to the radio.
They arrive safe and sound, ready for a great day at the park.