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Proper car seat use can make a life-saving difference

La Crosse, Wis. (WXOW) – The recent video of a child in Mankato, Minnesota falling out of a moving vehicle prompts concerns over the proper use of car seats.

The video shows a child falling out of an open car door still in their car seat.

Police say the child was properly strapped in but the seat was not fastened to the vehicle.

Certain models of car seats use what’s called a tether as an extra safety feature, something that model of seat did not have.

“Which is a strap at the top of the car seat that anchors either in the back dash in a sedan, or in the base of the seat,” Child Passenger Safety Technician with the La Crosse County Health Department Maggie Smith explains.

Car Seat Tether

“It’s routed either under or over your headrest. That’s just another safety point, another attachment to the vehicle that if used would have helped to prevent things like this.”

Smith says, without the tether even a secure car seat can still detach from the vehicle if adults in the car are not attentive to children.

“There are scenarios where it was accidentally unbuckled, maybe the child unbuckled it we don’t know. The safety lock on the door would be another measure for safety. You want to make sure the child can’t actually open their back door. So there’s a lot of different factors that can come in to play but I think it emphasizes that parents should be regularly checking their child’s car seat,” Smith finishes.

The La Crosse County Health Department schedules public information sessions to educate parents on car seat use. Contact the department at (608) 785-9872 for more information, or to schedule an individual meeting.

Peter Lenz

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