Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of children three to 14 years old.
Unfortunately, unintentional injuries kill more than 830,000 children annually worldwide and permanently disable even more, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Providing your child with the proper child restraint could save their life.
"I am a big believer of having a child in a child restraint (car seat or seat belt according to age, height, weight requirements)," said Steve Cropper, Chief of the Minden Police Department.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars.
"We respond to scenes and see kids thrown out, ejected, etc.," said Cordell Williams with Louisiana State Police.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants should ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat's manufacturer.
The AAP also recommends to never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an active front passenger air bag. If the air bag inflates, it will hit the back of the car seat, right where the baby's head is and could cause serious injury or death.
The penalty for individuals failing to comply with the Child Restraint Laws is a large fine, that can increase if the offender has violated this law multiple times, according to Public Information Officer (PIO), Matt Harris, Louisiana State Police.
Louisiana law states that in accordance with RS 32:414T. the department shall suspend the license of any person upon notification of the first or second conviction under R.S. 32:295, until such time as he has provided the department with a notarized affidavit stating he has acquired an approved age or size appropriate child restraint system.
In addition, the child occupant seatbelt law R.S. 32:295 states that children under the age of six year or less than 60 pounds must be in a child restraint system or booster seat that is age and size appropriate, in accordance with manufacturers recommendations. Children six to 12 years of age must be restrained by a lap belt, shoulder harness or an age/size appropriate child safety or booster seat.
According to Harris, in the past decade, more than 62,000 lives have been saved due to the evolution of both car seats and vehicle safety systems (ie... air bags, seat belts, etc.).
If parents are unsure of the installation of their child's car seat, they can contact Webster Parish Sheriff's Department at 377-1515 to make an appointment for an inspection by certified technicians Deputies Jeremy Utphall and Bobby Igo, III. In addition, parents and caregivers will be provided with potential life-saving information regarding the appropriate seat for each child's age and weight.
Minden Medical Center will also provide new parents with adding child seat safety as a component to their OB Hospital Orientation, as well as providing flyers to The Women's Clinic and all the physician offices that treat pediatric patients.
Car seat recommendations and information for children can be found at www.nhtsa.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), www.lahighwaysafety.org, and www.healthychildren. org of American Academy of Pediatrics.
American Academy of Pediatrics has a Car Seat Check application designed for iPhone and iPad that is available and gives expert advice on selecting the right car seat for your child and installing it safely.