ABILENE, Texas - Child safety seats are designed to keep your children secure; however, a new study suggests many Texas children are not properly buckled in.
The Texas Department of Transportation is now offering free safety seat inspections year-round by appointment.
Under state law, if your child is younger than 8-years-old and not taller than 4'9," they are required to ride in a safety seat.
"Studies show that three out of four child passengers' safety seats are improperly installed so it's really important to know the right way to install it and we have those resources," said Darah Waldrip, the TxDOT Abilene District public information officer.
"There are four types of safety seats: The infant-only, the convertible, the forward-facing and your child passenger booster seat," said Jill Collett, a traffic safety specialist.
Collett is also certified to inspect safety seats. She said her job is to make sure children are in the correct seats, the restraints fit appropriately and that the seats are installed properly.
"The main thing is to make sure you read on each one of the seats the age, weight and height requirement of the seat along with the owner's manual of the actual seat and the car manual," Collett said.
In a recent study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, 37 percent of Texas infants and toddlers were either not buckled in properly or not at all. That can lead to a monetary fine and serious health-related repercussions.
"We're seeing bleeding around the brain, bleeding within the brain and, with that, often injuries associated with other areas: Solid organs, lungs," said Dr. Brian Sorensen with Hendrick Medical Center. "When they're restrained properly, you can reduce death or major injuries by as much as 70 percent."
Additionally, Collett said children under the age of 13 should not ride in the front seat.
If you are interested in scheduling a safety seat inspection, you can call a TxDOT district office or find a local contact at TexasClickItorTicket.com.