Safety Seat Instructions Need Instructions of Their Own

If you've ever had trouble installing a child safety seat, you're not alone. A report in Pediatrics Magazine says the instructions for car seats are too complex for most adults to read and comprehend. Many East Texans say putting in a child's seat is anything but child's play.

Melissa Love is heading home for the first time with her newborn son, Landon. But, before mother and child can leave Mother Frances Hospital, they have to make sure Landon's car seat is properly installed. It sounds easy, but it requires the help of Tonya Holden and Robert Bell, both of whom have recently completed a three day course in just this sort of thing.

"Thirty two hours of how to properly install car seats just for the safety of the children, says Trauma Coordinator Stacy Gregory. "It just amazed me the amount of information they came back with."

"It should be very easy to put in a child safety seat, but unfortunately, it is not," says Mother Frances Trauma Surgeon, Dr. Errington Thompson. He just published a study on safety seats and car wrecks in last month's Archives of Surgery that found, "Out of the population of the people that we saw, only 20% of the kids were wearing seatbelts." He says the complex instructions may contribute to lack of car seats being used on the roads. "The government needs to step forward and say, 'We need to have safety seats that conform to this specific regulation so therefore, they all fit in the car in the same way'."

Until then, people like Robert and Tonya will stay busy helping parents and children feel more secure. After more than 15 minutes and three adults tugging, pulling and checking, Landon is finally ready to go home.

If you aren't sure your car seat is properly installed you can get help. You can call Mother Frances Hospital to have your seat checked by calling (903)531-5560. You can also call the Tyler Police Department at (903)531-1090. Several officers are trained to put in child restraints.

Stephen Parr, reporting.