ANDERSON — While not a full-time job, Joann Amick devotes a considerable amount of her time working to keep children in her community safe.
“The majority of child car seats are used incorrectly,” said Amick, child passenger safety technician at Community Hospital Anderson. “I want to teach them how to use them properly and help them keep their child safe.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says about 80 percent of child restraints are used incorrectly, although car seats have been around for several generations.
Amick, who has provided child safety seat checks for 18 years, said the technology of car seats has changed throughout the years.
“It used to be they wanted children in rear-facing car seats until they were one year and 20 pounds,” she said. “Now, they want them rear facing until 2 years and 40 pounds.”
Misconceptions regarding the safest place for children to ride in a vehicle also exist, according to NHTSA. The safest place for a child is the rear seat of a vehicle, but when asked, six out of 10 drivers believe it is safe for children age 12 or under to sit in the front seat. The agency also found that more than one in 10 children under 80 pounds are completely unrestrained when riding in vehicles.
Riding in the back seat can reduce a child’s risk of death by 30 percent, according to SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. In Indiana, children must use a booster seat until the age of 8, but only if a child “sits well,” Amick said. She said when a child is in a seat their knees must bend comfortably over the edge of the seat and the shoulder harness of the seat belt must hit the child at the shoulder.
Almost a third of children are restrained improperly in a vehicle because of their age and size, according to data from Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network. The information also indicates that these children are more than three times likely to be at risk of a serious injury in a car accident than children who are properly restrained.