Simulator teaches kids about safety seats and seat belt laws

Children learn importance of seat belt safety


Buckle up is the key but how to do it is a lesson to be learned.

Hundreds of kids at Brownwood's Texas 4-H center learned the importance of not just buckling up, but doing so correctly Thursday morning. Many of them admitted they put the strap under their arms or behind their backs, but it is crucial that the seat belt goes over the shoulder bone and hip bone.

The Texas KidSafe program and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot) used a simulator to demonstrate what could happen if both drivers and passengers did not abide by the law.

"It's a good visual for kids to see," TxDot traffic specialist Jeanni Luckey said. "You can talk to them but when they actually see it happening, it will make them think, 'If the dummy can fly out, then I can fly out.'"

Luckey said she hopes by using the rollover simulator, she can educate more people. "We can show them what could happen in just a split second because you never know when you're going to be in a crash and so you need to always be buckled up."

KidSafe program coordinator Gina Torres said failure to fasten could result in brain, head and bodily injuries. Making poor choices could lead and have led to losing loved ones.

"Children should remain rear-facing up to two years old," Torres said. "They should be in a harness combination seat until they're at least four years old and 40 pounds. Booster seats are mandatory for kids until they're 4'9" tall. Also, children ages 12 and under should sit in the back."

Torres said the leading cause of death for children under the age of 14 is motor vehicle crashes. She also said child safety seats can reduce the risk of injuries for infants by 71 percent and for toddlers by 54 percent. Booster seats reduce the risk of injuries by 59 percent.

According to TxDot, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of being injured in a serious crash by 45 percent.

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