Jeremy Olson writes about children and families, and is an overscheduled father of two. His blog tackles the best and worst of parenting, families, health and love. He wants to hear from you - what's going on in your house?
The new Minnesota DPS commercial makes my kids laugh when they see it, but of course it is making a serious point. New state data shows 52 percent of all children ages 4 to 7 who were passengers in car wrecks from 2006 through 2010 weren't properly secured in booster seats. The rate was worse in car wrecks in which the children were injured: 62 percent of the injured children weren't properly restrained. And the rate was even worse when these children died: 7 of the 9 fatalities involved children ages 4 to 7 who weren't properly restrained.
Compliance with state child safety laws is better when children are newborns and infants, but drops off when children reach preschool and grade-school ages. The most common mistakes, according to the state:
Turning a child from a rear-facing restraint to a forward-facing restraint too soon.
Restraint is not secured tight enough — it should not shift more than one inch side-to-side or out from the seat.
Harness on the child is not tight enough — if you can pinch harness material, it’s too loose.
Retainer clip is up too high or too low — should be at the child’s armpit level.
Child is in the wrong restraint — don’t rush a child into a seat belt.