Car Seat Safety: Buckle Up!

Two children were killed in a collision earlier this week. Both kids were under the age of four years and neither were in a car seat. The children’s mom was driving one of the vehicles involved in the crash.

The collision happened on Hanley Road near the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. The collision was sufficiently violent to rip apart the car in which the kids rode. The force of the crash ejecting both kids from the car. According to news reports, both toddlers were buckled into the seat in which they road. However, neither child was in a child safety seat. Further, one of the kids – a three year old boy – was sitting in the front seat at impact.

Why Car Seats Are a Necessity

The story is tragic. It also provides a sober reminder for those of us with small children and grandchildren. Both local law and good practice demand that we restrain our children in appropriate seats whenever they ride with us.

Missouri’s Child Restraint Law requires:

  • Children less than 4 years must be in an appropriate child safety seat, regardless of weight.
  • Kids less than 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat, regardless of age.
  • Children less than 8 years (who weigh at least 40 pounds) must be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat until they weigh 80 pounds or are 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
  • Kids 8 years and over, or those who weigh 80 pounds or who are 4 feet, 9 inches tall, must be secured by a safety belt or buckled into an appropriate booster seat.

In Missouri, the statute is Section 307.179 R.S.Mo and the fine for violating this law is $50.

Child safety seats and booster seats should always be installed in the back seat of your car. And, the back seat remains the safest place for your child to ride even after she grows out of a booster seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that your children ride in the back seat until at least age 12 years. Click here for a comprehensive car seat guide based on child age and size.

Remember that you remain the Number 1 teacher of your child in all things, including safe riding. Always buckle your seat belt, no matter the streets your traveling or how far you’re going from your home. Collisions happen on the highway; they also happen in your neighborhood and your subdivision and on your way to school, church and the weekend’ little league games.

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