Kids car safety: Child car wreck fatality factors

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Organizations like Safe Kids Tuscaloosa check car seats and boosters to make sure they're properly installed.

But for children not buckled in right, the coordinator says the risk of kids being killed in a car wreck increases, with ages 4 to 10 being at most risk.

"How do I install this? I figure I would just know and for three months, it was installed incorrectly," said mother Lindsey Wyatt.

Ever since then, Lindsey Wyatt says she's educated herself to make sure her kids were secure in the car.

"You can feel like the safest parent in the world, you can do everything right, but it doesn't mean the car next to you is going to," said Wyatt.

The Safe Kids Tuscaloosa Co-Coordinator Janice Hagler said in Alabama a big challenge they face is the car seat laws are different than what is considered safe.

"The lack of knowledge is people don't understand that the seat belt in a vehicle is made for a 50 percentile of an adult male," said Hagler.

Legally at 4 years old, your child can get into a booster seat. But if the child weighs less than 40 pounds, Hagler said they still need to be in a car seat.

"Somebody not paying attention, on their cell phone, that could be your child's life if he's not buckled in correctly," said mother Monica Acker.

The Center for Advanced Public Safety said 1 in 67 children not restrained correctly in a car is likely to be killed versus the 1 in 909 kids killed who are buckled in properly.

In the last five years, nine children aged 4 to 5 were killed in Alabama due to not wearing a car seat or booster. That number doubled for 9 to 12-year-olds.

A good tip to keep in mind is if your child's seat belt doesn't fit over the shoulder, they aren't ready to be out of a booster or car seat.

Safe Kids Tuscaloosa is having a car seat check event June 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parents can call Janice Hagler to book an appointment at 205-469-1234.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.