INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A baby boy remains in critical condition at Riley Hospital after a deadly crash Tuesday. It happened on I-69 and killed his 4-year-old sister. Three other people in that same car were also hurt.
Now police and health experts are reminding parents to make sure their kids are properly restrained while on the road. Indiana laws say kids under 8-years-old need to be in a car seat or booster in the back seat, but four-year-old Tavionna Ford wasn’t even wearing a seat belt during the crash, according to police. That’s why state troopers don’t hesitate to enforce the car seat laws.
“The seat belt law is one thing, it’s the law and you need to adhere to it and it’s good for your safety, but you as a grown up can make that decision, but a child can’t make that decision,” Sgt. Rich Myers said.
Just in the last two and a half years nearly five-thousand drivers have been ticketed by Indiana State Police for unrestrained children. .
“Somebody needs to look out for them and make sure that they’re properly restrained so the best safety is afforded to them,” Sgt. Myers said.
Car seats and boosters can be confusing contraptions and laws can be difficult to understand as well.
“You need to know and be up to date on how to properly use those car seats,” Sgt. Myers. said.
There are several resources available to parents. At St. Francis Health, there’s an open door policy for parents who have questions about car seats.
“I make sure all the little people are safe and get a good ride home,” car-seat technician and nurse Sharilyn Wagner said.
She works with parents weekly.
“I want them to understand how to put that baby in the car seat, how to get them in the car, what’s the newest laws, what are the latest recommendations, because they’re always changing,” Wagner said.
The program even provides car seats to families in need. We watched a mother with three children arrived with just one car seat. Sharilyn explained the current codes in place and showed the Spanish speaking family how to use each of three seats they need.
She says she’s passionate about her job, because she believes she’s saving lives.
“We’re seeing a big incline where they’re not in their seat belts and there are a lot more fatalities,” Wagner said.
“Ultimately you’re the parent and you’ve gotta make a lot of tough decisions as a parent and this is one of them and this is the best decision you’re gonna make,” Sgt. Myers said.
Each and every car seat made in the U.S. should have a sticker detailing height and weight limits for that seat. Police and health experts say let this determine when your child graduates to the next type of restraint., not their age.
Residents needing help finding a car seat or learning how to use one, should call 1-800-KID-N-CAR or view this list of Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations.