another stupid sensless tragedy that should not have happened.

polarprincessFebruary 9, 2002

a baby, a toddler, and a teenage girl are dead because a girl in our town known for not buckling her kids up,bhad her baby in her lap while she was driving with the toddler in the front seat and the babys bottle fell on the floor and she leaned down to pick up the bottle and went through a stop sign hitting another car side impact. the passenger in the car was killed instantly, the womans baby was thrown into a tree and the toddler was killed by the airbag. now she has to live with this forever-- not only killing her own children but another person. the police said there is no doubt if the children had been properly reatrained they wouldn't have even had a scratch- because the impact wasn't that hard- the teenager died because she was in a compact car and the woman with the kids was driving a suburban, and the glass fell at the right angle that got her jugular vein. anyway.. a reminder, buckle your children up, and don't let yourself be distracted by anything.. makeup, primping, eating, cell phone.. it is just not worth it- your life can change in an instant.

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Where did this happen? If she lived here, she wouldn't only be punished with having to live with the fact she killed her children, she would probably be facing involuntary or vehicular manslaughter charges. If I was the mother of the teenager, she would also be facing a civil suit as well. I won't even let my 11 year old dd ride in the front seat with airbags, let alone a toddler. If both of those children had been in the backseat in child seats, none of this would have happened. How sad for all involved and their families.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 11:41AM
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This is so awful! I think if anyone is caught with a child unrestrained, they should be charged with child abuse. They are playing "russian roulette" with a child's life.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 1:17PM
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This is so tragic.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 2:31PM
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I live in Texas. When things like this happen, they never press charges against the irresponsible parent, because they feel they've "suffered enough." It won't stop until someone has an example made of them, IMO.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 7:29PM
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This reminds me of when I worked at a newspaper in a Philadelphia suburb...we covered a story about a young woman who was driving a car with her toddler, who was not in a car seat. The mother was high on heroin. Children's services had previously been to her house, looking for the child (who was not supposed to be in her custody) and left because "she wasn't home". The mother ran the car into a tree, killing the child (2 at the time); of course the mother didn't have a scratch on her.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 7:47PM
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oh i didn't mention- the teenager who was killed- her father is a lawyer- so i am sure there will be he** to pay. it is sad- i just keep shaking my head- why are people so dumb?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 10:04PM
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Several yrs a go a friend of a friend was in an accident that killed her son. He was about 1 or 1 1/2 aand hated ridign in the car seat (would scream and or unfasten it) so she just stopped using one. She was hit by an 18 wheeler whos brakes had failed and it sent her car flipping. She was unconcious when the ambualnce got there. There was no sign that a child had been in the car so they didn't look for the son. it wasn't until at the hospital when the family called the sitter(thinking the child was still there) that they realized the mother had picked him up. Rescue workers went back to the car and found him wedged in under the dash board. It isbelieved if he had been in a car seat he would have lived with very little injuries. If he had been found right after the accident it was possible he would have lived. Lst I knew the family wanted to sue the fire dept for not finding the boy and the driver for the accident. I felt it was as much the mothers fault as anyones but everyone else thought I was being cruel and mean.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 10:20PM
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i wouldn't care how loudly my child screamed; he would be in a carseat! I used to work with a lady who would never make her 5-year-old wear a seatbelt. She felt that "if something happened, then God had decided it was time to take" her daughter. That is just negligence, in my opinion. My car doesn't move until everyone is wearing a seatbelt.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 11:00PM
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I will never understand a parent not putting their children in a car seat! My son was ALWAYS in a car seat--now in a seat belt. I guess because he was so used to it, it never occured to him to 'not like it', he never said a word about being in a car seat--and now he just automatically buckles up.

That story was so sad, I'm so sorry that the mother lost her children but I still think she deserves to go to jail.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 8:13AM
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This is an outrage!!! How many innocent lives must be wrenched away before people wake up?!?!?! With today's statistics, it's amazing how many things we all do that can cause us or someone else serious harm. I just can't imagine not wearing a seat belt while in a car. To me that's as ridiculous as leaving the house with no pants on.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 9:20AM
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I just don't understand these people! Of couse a toddler will fight being in a car seat - they fight everything because they don't like transitions! With all 3 of mine, if they stiffened their back so I couldn't buckle the car seat, I held my hand on their belly to hold them back while I was buckling. If they screamed for 10 minutes, SO WHAT - they are safe! I was with a friend once when our sons were both 2, we were going to take her full-sized van on a short drive to a park. I got the carseat out of my car and buckled it in her van, then put my son in it. He son started screaming and stiffening his back when she put him in his seat. She spent 10 minutes "reasoning" with a 2 year old, then let him sit ON THE FLOOR. She said "Well, full size vans are safe because they are so big". It's a wonder the kid lived to se 7! I told her that I just pushed my kids in with a hand on their belly when they do the stiffening act and she said that was "cruel" - it's a lot less cruel than letting your child be killed in an accident!

That woman will have to face herself every day and think that her kids died because of her own laziness and weak will. In Ohio, she would also be in jail for vehicular manslaughter.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 9:25AM
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I saw a man in a big pickup Saturday. Had the windows rolled down and a girl, who appeared to be 6 or 7, standing up at the dash, hanging out the window as they drove. I could not see if he was buckled.

The windows were down so I could have hollered at him, but nowadays, you can't just do that because you never know the state of mind of the other person, so I kept going.

Two weeks ago, about a mile from where I saw this truck, another parent had a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old, unbuckled, driving in very foggy weather. He didn't see a red light, drove thru into a collision, and both kids were killed. He survived, but has to live with it for the rest of his life.

Ok - would you guys have hollered at the driver of the truck I saw? I have been worrying about this ever since Saturday.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 11:23AM
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Whenever I see kids flopping around in the backseat, not wearing their seatbelts, and their parents in the front acting as if nothing is wrong in the world, I pull up next to them and say something. Really, I do. I figure, at least I can put this into their head... the "what if"... there was a time when I saw a lady in a Camry (new) and her two kids were not buckled, they were making faces at me, jumping around in the backseat. Such cute kids. I pulled up aside her and yelled over, "that's a fairly new car, I bet it DOES have seatbelts in the back!"

I told my 5 y.o. DD that mommy's car won't "work" until our seatbelts are buckled, period!!!! The ignition does not start until she is in that backseat, buckled safely, facing forward, and I am buckled safely. She never, ever second-guesses it because from the get-go we both have buckled the belts.

People who say they don't want to inconvenience their children or hear them scream due to "having" to wear a seatbelt or be in a car-seat should remember one thing; their life without their child would be a much great inconvenience. Hearing them scream due to being maimed or killed in a wreck would be far worse than hearing them scream from being put into a restraining seat.

- darkeyedgirl

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 11:39AM
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Just today on A Disney World Board I post on a woman was outraged because the car rental company was going to make her rent a car seat for her 5 yr old child according to Flordia state laws (children must be 6 or older and over 60 lbs to ride without a safty seat). She was proud of the fact herson had not rode in one since his 4th birthday and went on about how tramatic it would be for him to be forced into one.
I just can not understand some so called parents.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 8:35PM
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ya what is wrong with people? i have a 3 year old that goes to preschool, and i am the only one of all the parents who buckles up my kids- the rest drive off in their new airbag in front vehicles with their kid sitting right there beside them in the front seat my own sisters are guilty of this.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2002 at 12:34AM
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DH and I have always had a 'this is not optional' policy on seatbelts for us (and we've been in accidents where we walked away from totaled cars because of it). And when DD came along, she was just buckled in. As she got older, we sang the Barny 'buckle our belts' song as we got in the car seat to make it fun. Plus she likes it because she can see out a lot better. It's our job to care for them. And if you start from infancy making it clear that it is not optional (and by setting a good example by wearing them yourself) there is no 'convincing' with the child that needs to be done.

Here's a true story:
A friend of mine had her first child. Her mom came to the hospital to help with the homecoming. They brought baby Andrew down in the child-safety seat to put him in the car (most hospitals require a seat or you can't take your child home).

Her mom pitched a fit. She said, "Back when you girls were babies, I NEVER buckled you in!"
My friend told her, "Yes, mom, but remember the wreck we had where I ended up hitting the windshield with my head?"
To which her mom replied, "Oh, but you turned out ok!"

    Bookmark   February 12, 2002 at 8:05AM
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Oh my goodness, karen! That is incredible that parents will still maintain that "even after a massive head injury you turned out okay!" My friend's MIL couldn't understand why my friend didn't want the recalled carseat she bought for her at a flea market. "Well, it LOOKS safe," she says angrily. These people need a slap upside the head!

When my now 19-year-old brother was less than a year old, my dad and stepmom were driving in their late 70's model Honda Civic (surely you remember these things were like tin cans on wheels) and were struck head on by the neighbor girl, who was driving left of center. My brother was riding on his mom's lap and was thrown to the floor of the car. He had a broken leg, thank God nothing else. But those pitiful pictures of him in the hospital with both legs in traction are enough to break your heart.

Another thing is to make sure once you use the carseat that it is installed properly. My friend's husband (the same one I mentioned above) strapped their daughter into the seat when she went for a ride with my friend's mother. When grandma hit the brakes, the car seat and baby went forward. He hadn't even installed it correctly, if at all. Very scary.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2002 at 10:02AM
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If possible, have a "LATCH" or "ISOFIX" connector installed in your car (possible on some late model vehicles, and standard equipment on many new cars) and use a recently built baby seat. These are very easy to install properly - they just snap right in - and it is easy to remove and replace them when necessary. Some cars and vans even have built-in child seats available that fold down for kids, fold back up for adults.

I'm a bit disturbed at the campaign in recent years to only place children in back seats. Of course, rear-facing infant seats should *never* be placed in a front seat with an active airbag, as the bag would inflate into the top of the baby's head first. But using a forward-facing seat for post-infant younger children in a front seat may not be any less safe than in back, and may in some cases be safer. The kids-in-the-backseat campaign has been waged in recent years for reasons partly cultural, partly political. The cultural aspect pertains to parents' and society's general predilection to put kids in the back seat both metaphorically and literally. Based on past statistics, both children and adults are (slightly) better protected in the back seat. But there haven't been any efforts to get people to put their wives or husbands in the back seat for safety. The political aspect pertains to the rash of airbag-related fatalities several years ago, many to children or shorter adults. The government's airbag mandate had always had its detractors, and now there were choruses of "I told you so's" amongst those who opposed mandatory airbag requirements. To help quell the criticism and repel efforts to repeal the airbag mandates, the government began the "put kids in the back" crusade, which was picked up by car manufacturers and just about everyone else. Most of those injured or killed by airbags though were not wearing seatbelts or were in rear-facing seats.

What those statistics from past accidents in older cars don't take into account is that many new cars will probably protect post-infant children and adults alike better, or at least as well, in the front seat. The advantage of the back seat was largely due to being further from the impact area in frontal collisions, which would often intrude on the passenger space in front but not in back. (Also, center positions offer better protection from side impacts from either direction than outer positions, and more cars have center-rear than center-front seating, although using the center position is often impossible if you have more than one child seat.) But due to safety advances in new cars, many cars have recently passed the government or insurance institute frontal crash tests with no intrusion into the passenger compartment. This means the front and rear seats experience exactly the same rate of deceleration, and common concerns such as crashing into the dashboard or windshield aren't an issue. Airbags have been redesigned to inflate less forcefully, especially in low-speed collisions. What's more, several new cars are equipped with seat-belt retractors (that automatically tighten to eliminate slack during a collision) and side airbags (which are safely positioned for both children and adults), whereas these features are less commonly found in rear seats. So the front seat may actually be safer in some new cars. And the front-passenger seat height and shoulder-belt height adjustments found in some new cars can better position a small child properly in respect to the seat belt and airbag.

BTW, I spent two years working for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and am a lifelong car buff. And I'm not the only one reconsidering the "put kids in back" mantra. Check out this article in the current issue of Car & Driver magazine, from its chief editor:

Here is a link that might be useful: Where Should Kids Sit?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 1:24AM
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I use the rear seat with my 4-year-old because that's where my Ford Taurus put the hooks you hook the strap onto. If I installed her seat in the front, it might lurch forward in a collision, putting her right in the path of the airbag. And these hooks built into the back were made for crash safety. An idea would be to latch the strap onto the headrest post, but the headrest was not specifically made to withstand the weight of a collision, like those back-seat hooks were.

Anyway, it's much more convenient to have her seat 'permanently' installed in the back, so that i don't have to relocate her seat when I'm bringing adults along for the ride.

In your 'front-facing, front-seat' idea, where would the strap latch on?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 8:20AM
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You all might check with your state's Highway Safety Department or State Patrol and check to see if they know of a 800 type reporting phone # to report drivers with children that are not restrained as required by law. In Nebraska we have an 800 # - you give them the license # and they send the owner of the car a letter indicating that it was observed that the had a child that was not restrained and they will even offer the use of a free car seat. In Nebraska this is a federally sponsored program. I believe this program would be offered in most states.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 9:15AM
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Your friend is right to be outraged. That is NOT the Florida law. I copied the following from the Florida Highway Patrol website. I think the car rental company was trying to make some money at your friend's expense. I too, would be outraged. How dare a car rental company LIE TO ME about the safety of my child to make a buck!!

What Florida Law says about...
Child Restraint Requirements

All children under the age of 18 must be buckled up while riding in any car, pickup truck, or van on Florida's roads, no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle.
Children through the age of 3 must be secured in a federally approved child-restraint seat.
Children ages 4 through 5 must be secured by either a federally approved child-restraint seat or a safety belt.
Drivers are responsible for buckling up the child.
The cost to a violator will be a minimum of $60.00 plus $10.00 court costs.


Here is a link that might be useful: FHP Website

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 9:57AM
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Some people are just stupid!

The original post's story aggravated me as much as that dimwit that left her car running while running into the store for 'only a minute', followed by a carjacking with her son in the back seat. It just blows me away; if you're running in for 'only a minute', is it that much of an inconvenience to take the keys with you and lock the door?

And what about the woman that left her infant/toddler in the tub while she ran out of the room 'for only a minute'? She assumed that the child was safe in one of those tub rings with the suction cups on the bottom. I can't remember if the child drowned or not.

When are people going to wake up and realize that LOTS of things can happen in 'only a minute'!!!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2002 at 11:46AM
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I believe that if a child has been placed in a car seat since birth...that they learn that this is a way of life and to be expected. My child has never hated car seats and has always known the importance of them. The first time that he rode on a small school bus to a field trip...he was about 4 years old...he cried continously and did not understand why there were no seat belts/car seats on the bus for the children, even though the driver was buckled up. They tried to soothe him and tell him that they would not be in an accident and that it was okay. He told them that he had never been in a car and was not buckled up. He did not want to go on field trips again because he felt unsafe. He told me after school and I was a bit concerned also. He was still very upset and didn't understand this. He has been on many field trips since then (he is 9 years old) and on the much larger school buses and I naturally worry about safety and accidents. He attends a private school, but our public school buses don't have seat belts either. I pray for the day that they make it mandatory to have seatbelts on school buses.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 12:12PM
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All the research shows that buses are built to ensure safety by compartmentalization, which minimizes passenger injury. Passengers, especially confused, frightened children will be unable to unbuckle and exit the vehicle if an accident occurs. All the safety board tests weighed the safety of compartmentalization with ease of exit, versus seatbelts, and ease of exit. They determined thru crash tests and historical data, that seat belts increased the chance of fatality.

It is natural to worry, since we've all been told so many times to buckle up. But buses aren't built like passenger cars/vans/suv's. If I can find some links to the latest studies, I'll post them. Reading all the information has made me feel a bit better about riding on buses.

(BTW we always buckle on shuttle buses like at the airport park-and-ride. They always have seat belts but you can tell they don't get used very often because you have to dig them out of the seat.)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2002 at 7:53AM
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My kids have never had an option with carseats. They have to be in them. There is no choice. My son is 7 and my daughter is 3, both of them are in booster seats. EVERYTIME they ride in the car. Also, my husband and I always wear our seatbelt. Which I think is an example as well. People who do not take care of their children in a vehicle are unfit and should be considered negligent. I don't understand people that just don't want to take the time or have the arguement with their kids everytime they get in the car........but it may just save their lives one of these days.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2002 at 1:50PM
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My sister works 27yrs for Allstate Insurance you wouldnt believe the horriffic files tat land at her desk...such as the 3yr old who wouldnt wear a seabelt and the mother didnt want to traumatize the chld by forcing the issue so when the accident occured the air bag went of and decapitated the chid in the front seat the mother was not hurt but how traumatizing was it to the child and the mother to see her 3yr old with no head!!!! ARE THESE PEOPLE NUTS???? When my son who was 2 1/2 at the time hes now 7 started his nonsense I rode down Main Street found a Policeman explained my situation ans the policema came to the car and said sterly NO SEATBELT would you like me to arrest you and put you in jail.....LOL LOL that kids face was PRICELESS and NEVER AGAIN till this day has he ever even peeped about a sat belt HEY call it cruel but my child is alive and well that the Lord!!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2002 at 10:47AM
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