The Missouri Highway Patrol is touting a frightening statistic: 70 percent of child safety seats are not installed correctly.
What makes this particularly amazing is all the efforts our government uses to protect children, combined with the smothering over-protection from today's helicopter parents. Only three out of 10 car seats are installed properly?
With next week's National Child Passenger Safety observation, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are teaming up to do something about the problem.
Granted, just because a seat isn't installed properly doesn't automatically make it a death trap. But the higher the percentage of properly installed seats, the more lives will be saved.
Certified safety seat technicians Sgt. Scott White of the patrol and Becky Lenon of the coalition will be offering free child safety seat checks from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sept. 19 — next Tuesday — at the Missouri Department of Transportation's Central District office, 1511 Missouri Blvd.
The seat checks will take place in the parking lot behind the building. No appointments are necessary, and each vehicle will receive a goody bag, courtesy of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.
A 2006 Missouri law requires children to be in a booster seat if they are ages 4 through 7 and weigh at least 40 pounds, unless they are 80 pounds or 4'9" tall. Children less than 4 years old or less than 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat.
Our children — as the cliché goes — are our future. It should go without saying that their safety should be a top priority, and in many other regards in our society, it is.
But some parents — who wouldn't think of letting their children ride in the back of the wood-paneled station wagon while on vacation (like Baby Boomers unwisely did) — don't think much about installing their child's car seat properly. As long as it is bound in some fashion, that's "good enough," they believe.
We hope the upcoming week will serve as a reminder for parents to make the extra effort to ensure the seats are installed correctly. It's one more precaution needed to protect their children's safety.