First responders weigh in on car seat safety - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

First responders weigh in on car seat safety

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A baby and young child were involved in two separate wrecks on Wednesday.

In the morning, a 4-year-old was thrown from a truck on South Memorial Parkway near the Walmart. HEMSI paramedics said the child was in the back of a pickup truck, not restrained properly, when the wreck happened. The child only had minor injuries and is expected to be ok.

"The kid receiving minor injuries after being ejected from a vehicle is very rare," said HEMSI paramedic and supervisor Kenneth Burke. "Usually when anyone is ejected from a vehicle, they are usually seriously injured. Because actually when you're ejected from a vehicle you're about 25 times more likely to be killed than if you stay inside your vehicle."

Less than four hours later, a 2-week-old infant was involved in a head-on collision about a mile north near Mountain Gap Road. Police said the baby's mother was holding the child in her lap in the passenger seat of the SUV. Police said a truck pulled out in front of them. The baby, the mother, and the two drivers were taken to Huntsville Hospital. The infant is in critical condition.

Huntsville police said an investigation is being conducted. When complete, it will be handed over to the District Attorney's Office for review. District Attorney Rob Broussard said cases like this are judged on a cases-by-case basis, but the parents of the infant could be charged with reckless endangerment or another similar crime.

The two wrecks heighten the need for child restraint and car seat awareness.

"Most of the time when the kids are involved, it is preventable," said Burke. "If an adult chooses not to wear her seatbelt, that is their choice and their decision they make. These babies and these kids are not able to make these decisions and someone needs to make it for them."

The Huntsville Hospital car seat fitting station provides free car seat checks, installations and education for caregivers on proper car seat installation and a variety of child passenger safety issues. The fitting station is staffed by experienced, certified child passenger safety technicians, and is open three days a week. The phone number to call for appointments and information is 256-265-7296.

Parents who can't afford a car seat for their child can qualify for a free one through SafeKids Huntsville. Their mission is to prevent the unintentional injury to children.

The websites below also provide good information for parents:

www.cpsalabama.org 
www.safekids.org 
www.nhtsa.gov 

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