Riding in a car without being properly restrained puts children in an extremely vulnerable position.
“Hopefully everybody realizes that the car seats are absolutely something that’s vital to use. And it saves lives quite frankly,” says Mark Tesoro, injury prevention analyst with Lee Memorial Health System.
Tesoro analyzes data for Lee Memorial Health System’s Trauma Center, looking for trends and opportunities to make the community safer. New figures released by the CDC make his outreach easier: one-third of the children who died in car crashes on US roads in 2011 weren't in a safety seat.
“If you’re not going to use it every time, correctly, it’s not going do anybody any good,” says Tesoro.
Car seats and booster seats are proving to be lifesavers. Overall fewer children died in car crashes, and these safety devices often made the difference between life and death. While most people get that babies should be restrained, they are letting off the gas when it comes to older kids.
“It’s very important to make sure your kids are properly harnessed until the age and height that the seat allows it to be. Boosters are very important because a lot of parents feel by the age of three they don’t nee to be in any sort of device. Kids need to be in boosters until they’re 4ft 9 inches,” says Lina Quintana, child advocate for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Car seats purchased in the US have all undergone crash testing. Child safety advocates say all that’s left is to get the message out.
“We feel like we can always do more. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event that I’ve said ‘oh my job is done’,” says Quintana.
Because nothing should take a backseat to safety.