Kids Without Seatbelts: A Tragedy Waiting to Happen - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/06/02-East Texas

Kids Without Seatbelts: A Tragedy Waiting to Happen

   More than 300 children who die in car wrecks could still be alive today if they were restrained properly in their seat. 
   As part of the recent "Click It, or Ticket" program, Tyler Police found 41 unrestrained children. And child safety seat experts say the true number of unrestrained kids is much higher.
   "There's not enough officers to watch all of the cars that are riding with children standing, or not buckled up," said Darla Dike, a child seat belt expert.
    Darla teaches child-safety restraint lessons to moms like Amy Poteet of Tyler. Amy learned the benefit of those lessons when she and her four-year old daughter Katie were in a wreck.
   "I was going about 40 miles an hour, and (Katie's) seat shifted about an inch and a half , so I can only imagine what would have happened if it had not been tight." 
   Tight is what a child's restraining belt needs to be. If it's not secure,the consequences can be deadly. Darla says parents need to consider many factors when buckling kids in. Like whether, a child has outgrown it's infant carrier, or whether they're ready for a mid-sized convertible seat , or a larger high-back booster. Darla adds placing your child in a car seat is not enough, you also have to consider where that seat is positioned inside the vehicle.
   "The safest place for any child under 14-years old is in the back seat," said Darla. "And the very safest is in the back in the middle."
   Texas law says children under four, or under 36 inches, need to be in a safety seat. Infants should be rear-facing with a belt locking the seat in place. Here's a list of the safest seats for your child: infants up to 20 pounds or, one year of age, should be in an infant carrier. Kids between 20 to 40 pounds, or over one-year old, should be fastened in a convertible safety seat. And kids, between 40 to 80 pounds, should be restrained by a belt- positioning booster seat. Experts say car seats over five years old should not be used.

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