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Accidental injury is the number one killer of children under the age of fourteen, but the death rate has dropped 45 percent since 1987. KSMU's Kristian Kriner has more.
This week is the 20th Anniversary of Safe Kids Week and local coalition members are traveling to schools to teach children to buckle up, wear bike helmets and to wear life jackets.
The most child deaths and injuries occur in car crashes, because children are not buckled up or their car seat is not properly installed.
Daphne Greenlee is the Safe Kids Coordinator and Trauma Outreach Coordinator for St. Johns.
She says children need to be in a car seat or buckled up every time they are in a car.
"We really are just making sure that parents understand that when a child gets in the car whether they are going a block or whether they are you know going sixty miles it's a seat belt and a car seat and safety each time they turn on the key," Greenlee said.
She says 80 to 90 percent of parents are incorrectly using car seats or have the wrong car seat for their child.
Greenlee demonstrated how and where to put a car seat in a van.
Kriner: "When you have a van like this is it better to put them near the front or the back?"
Greenlee: "Ideally we want them in the center part of the vehicle. It's away from any point of contact. Unfortunately sometimes with the small back seat the center position doesn't have a real snug seatbelt fit when you are using a wide based car seat. So it's going to depend on the exact vehicle that you are using."
Greenlee says parents need to read the car seat instruction manual and their car manufacture's manual to find the best place to put the car seat.
"The most important thing just don't get frustrated, because it's really easy to do when you are installing a car seat. Sometimes you just want to pull your hair out by the time you are done. Call and get help, especially when we're talking about expectant parents. Don't wait until that eighth month or when you getting ready to leave the hospital to give us a call and say I need help with this car seat. Make sure you take plenty of time, plenty of care," Greenlee said.
Missouri law states that every child under the age of eight must ride in a car seat or booster seat.
Greenlee suggests that children should sit in the back seat until they are at least thirteen years old.
For more information about car seat safety and upcoming car seat installation events visit www.safekidsspringfield.org or call 417-820-6671.
For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.