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Experts demonstrate proper car seat installation after Morgan County crash


A man charged in connection with a crash that killed his three-year-old child who wasn't properly restrained was scheduled to appear in court for the first time Wednesday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), crashes are a leading cause of death for children. CDC data shows that using car seats can reduce the risk of a child being hurt in a crash by 71-82%, when compared to just using a seat belt.

According to MU Health Care's website, even when car seats are being used, 75% of them are not installed correctly.

Safe Kids is a nonprofit organization working to keep kids safe from injuries.

"Our goal is to try to help families because we know it's so confusing and definitely something that a lot of people have questions about," Jennifer Brooks, the coordinator for Safe Kids Columbia, said.

Safe Kids Columbia offers free car seats and booster seats to families who may be struggling to buy a proper child passenger restraint system.

Brooks said families who meet the income requirements can receive 1 car/booster seat per child, 2 car/booster seats per address. The Voluntary Action Center, or VAC, can provide vouchers for a car/booster seat. The seat can be redeemed through Safe Kids Columbia.

Safe Kids Columbia partners with the Columbia Fire Department to host monthly car/booster seat events. These events demonstrate how to properly install a car seat.

"We basically bring the car seats that they're in need of and we show them how to install them properly and how to properly harness their child in the vehicle," Brooks said.

In Missouri a child is required to be in child restraints if.

  • They are under the age of 4, or under 40 pounds in a child safety seat.
  • 4-7 years and 40-80 pounds and 57 in. or shorter in child safety seat or booster seat.
  • 4 years or over and 80 pounds or over or taller than 57 inches in booster seat or safety belt.

The maximum fine for a first car seat violation is $50, and $10 for over 80 pounds or over 57 inches tall. According to the Missouri State Statute, the charges may be dismissed or withdrawn if the driver prior to or at the hearing can provide evidence that the proper child restraint system has been obtained.

Brian Leer with the Boone County Sheriff's Department said his deputies are on the look out for children who aren't properly secured.

"You can look in a vehicle and see a lot of time there's a little on inside the vehicle, and it's pretty easy to see if they're properly restrained or not," Leer said. "It's crucial whenever you look at crashes, very minor crashes can occur and a small child can be severely injured, seriously injured, just because they're not properly restrained."

Both Leer and Brooks said the properly installing a child safety seat can be the difference from minor injuries and major injuries when a car crash happens.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia
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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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