About 90 percent of Mississippi's parents are not strapping their children into car seats correctly. That's according to the child advocacy group Safe Kids Mississippi. The proper restraint of children in a motor vehicle could reduce the chance of injury or death by as much as 71 percent.
At an inspection site in the Capital City, Mallory Berg with Safe Kids Mississippi inspects a child's car seat. She says there are a variety of things parents need to pay attention to when installing the restraint properly.
"The basics are, depending upon the age of your child is that you're using the right seat." Berg says. "That they're turned correctly in the vehicle. That they're in the proper position in the vehicle, and that the seat is installed tight enough with the right seat belt. That they're harnessed in as well, that's the other important part."
Under Mississippi law, infants up to two years of age are required to sit in a child's seat. Berg says the safest place to put the restraint is in the back seat facing the rear of the vehicle. The state also requires school age kids be in a booster seat until the age of seven or until the seat belt fits properly over a child's torso and lap; not it's stomach or neck. It's when children that are not restrained correctly that injury can occur. Eric Phillips is a paramedic with American Medical Response in the Jackson-Metro area.
"Recently a child was able to reach and grad hold of the door handle. Child was in the rear back seat. Mom didn't have the car seat installed correctly. She made a turn and baby and car seat and all go out the door. Overall very, very lucky that there were not any major injuries. We unfortunately run our fair share were that are involved in fatalities from not properly restraining or not using a car seat correctly."
According to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, in 2012, thirty-two children under the age of 16 who died in a motor vehicle crash were riding unrestrained or not restrained properly.