Car seat safety for Summer travel - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Car seat safety for Summer travel

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

After an accident involving a child being thrown out of a car while still in his car seat, we wanted to find out what parents need to know before they hit the road this summer.

"It's the number one killer of our kids in this nation and the state of Alabama," Marie Crew, Children's of Alabama said.

Today, Children's of Alabama is teaching law enforcement, and healthcare workers how to install a car seat and how to buckle the child in. 

They say, first and foremost, make sure you have the right one.

"They want to make sure they are using the appropriate car seat for their age and weight child," Crew said.

Any child under 20 pounds must ride in a car seat facing backwards. Any child under 40 pounds must ride in a car seat with a five point harness. Children over 40 pounds should use a booster seat.

"Several parents I know don't put their kids in booster seats any longer," Leslie Brown, a parent and Children's of Alabama safety coordinator said. "My almost 9 year old still rides in a booster seat which is very uncommon to see people doing that - and it's just that parents don't know."

Physicians say, new cars are being made with a system called "Latch." It's a technique that's often confusing.

"A lot of times the car seat will not be locked in appropriately," Crew said.

Fire crews gave us a few tips. Step one - run the belt through the back and buckle it in. Step two, put your weight into the seat and tighten it so it doesn't move more than an inch on either side. If your car has the vertical latch system hook the top strap into the latch and pull it tight.

If you would like to learn more about the Children's of Alabama car seat safety program, call 1800-504-9768 Monday through Wednesday. You can make an appointment to bring the car and the child in. They can check it and install it properly.

Here is a link to the Alabama State Department of Transportation's law on car seats: http://www.dmv.org/al-alabama/safety-laws.php