WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in Texas.
That’s why, during this Child Passenger Safety Week, experts said it is crucial everyone knows how to properly secure a car seat.
Keri Goins is the executive director of Child Care Partners, an organization devoted to protecting children and strengthening families and she said child injury or death due to lack of restraints on Texas roadways is preventable.
“It’s been pretty tough, we’ve had some big losses lately, with children that have actually passed away over the last couple of years due to accidents, and accidents are going to happen but if children are buckled in safely in the right car seat it can save lives,” Goins said.
And since statistics show motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children, folks with the Texas Department of Transportation, like Tish Beaver, are emphasizing not just the importance of car seats but proper use.
“For all forward-facing kids we want that top tether to be strapped and attached to the top tether anchor at the lower anchor portion of the vehicle,” Beaver said. “We don’t want to be able to pinch any strap right here at all and we still want to be able to push a couple of fingers underneath here and between their body. We don’t want to see more than an inch movement left [to] right, forward or backward.”
TxDOT officials report 78 children under the age of 8-years-old were killed on Texas roadways just last year, of those 31 were unrestrained and the remainder was among those cases of misuse.
“For our local community we have experienced in the last year multiple child fatalities, even one is too many,” Beaver said.
TxDOT statistics state 46% of all car seats are misused.
Goins and Beaver said this is avoidable if parents and caregivers use the resources at their fingertips to keep children safe.
Parents who cannot afford a car seat are able to receive a free car seat through TxDOT’s ‘Save Me With a Seat’ campaign.