CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa-- A new study finds an alarming number children aren't being buckled in, in the car. Safe Kids Worldwide released the study in conjunction with National Child Passenger Safety Week.
If a child isn't strapped in every time they get in the car, their risk of injury or death goes up. Car crashes are the leading cause of death among children. According to Safe Kids, in 2011 679 children under age 12 died in car crashes. A third of these children were not in a car seat or buckled in.
The study found one in four parents admit to driving when their child wasn't buckled into a car seat or a booster seat. The most common reasons for letting kids ride unrestrained include: there was no safety seat in the car, they were holding the child in their lap, traveling overnight, letting the child out of the seat as a reward, or they were only going a short distance.
Officer Shannon Stokesberry with the Linn County Safe Kids Coalition says buckling up children should never negotiable.
"It's so dangerous because a crash can happen at any time. Babies, young kids, they all need to be buckled in to a car seat or at least in a seatbelt if they are older. So if a crash would occur hopefully they'll still be safe and won't fly out the window," said Stokesberry.
It's not only dangerous, it's also against the law. Children who are under one or weigh less than 20 pounds must be in a rear facing car seat. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until at least age 6. Children should also remain in the back seat until they are at least 13, because of air bags.
In Linn County authorities are finding that a large number of parents who are buckling up their kids, aren't doing it properly. Safe Kids Linn County has already inspected over 200 car seats this year. Of those two-thirds were not properly installed.
To help ensure child safety seats are properly installed The Linn County Safe Kids Coalition will be hosting a car seat check event on Thursday. It's at Lynch Ford Chevrolet in Mount Vernon from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. They also do safety checks the second Thursday of each month from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the McGrath dealership in Hiawatha.