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Cottage Health seeing more injured children related to improper car seat installation

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Doctors at Cottage Health are seeing more children injured in car accidents.

“Recently we’ve seen some accidents involving children who are either unrestrained or not properly restrained at all and it has resulted in some fatalities and some serious injuries," said trauma nurse coordinator Lauren Sutherlin of Cottage Health.

Sutherlin says three accidents are largely due to the car seat not being installed properly.

"A few things we see that people are not doing it correctly is installation … sometimes people are using more than one method to install when really You either need to use the seatbelt or you use latches for the lower anchor," said Sutherlin.

Another major concern has to do with harnesses being too loose.

"For children in the rear facing position the harness needs to be add or just below the level of the shoulder here at the top," said Sutherlin.

Sutherlin says many changes to the seats will be needed as your child grows and with position changes.

"Children need to be rear facing until they are at least two years old. They are safe it’s in the backseat and it’s even better to keep them rear facing as long as possible to the maximum weight and height the seat allows," said Sutherlin.

Officers with the California Highway Patrol are also concerned about improper car seat installation. 

They want to help the community learn how to ensure the safety of children while traveling in the road.

“Four out of five parents do not install their car seats correctly. Make an appointment so we ask people to go to CHP make an appointment with us or cottage Hospital," said Jonathan Gutierrez of CHP.

“We are here to keep our community safe we are here to help and we don’t want to see kids become injured," said Sutherlin.

Both Cottage Health and CHP are encouraging the community to reach out for any questions on how to properly install a car seat.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 607 child passengers ages 12 and younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States, and more than 63,000 were injured in 2020.

Of the children who were killed in a crash, 38 percent were not buckled up.

In a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 80 percent of child restraints are not properly used.

For more information on care seat safety, log on to: https://www.cottagehealth.org/services/emergency-medicine-trauma-services/injury-prevention/child-car-seat-safety/

Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle
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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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