Posted on Jun 20, 2010
In Taylor, Michigan, a little boy just aged two years was thrown from the minivan his mother was driving. 

The incident occurred on Wednesday, June 16 when the young mother was driving a minvan through the parking lot of a Burlington Coat Factory Store.  When rounding a corner, the sliding back door flew open.  It is unclear if the door was ever closed properly, or if it opened on its own accord.  Regardless, the door flew open, and because the little boy was not properly strapped into a child safety seat, the toddler flew out of the vehicle.  Upon involuntarily exiting the vehicle, the young boy fell underneath the minivan, but because the vehicle was still in motion the rear wheel drove across the young boy's body.

Immediately, the toddler was rushed to a local hospital to be treated.  He is alive, but in critical condition.  There were two other children in the vehicle, but they did not fall out of the open door and are safe.  No suit has been filed against the young mother at this time.  

Exactly one month from today, we reported on a mother in Miami who was being charged with child neglect for failure to strap her children into seat belts.  Now one month later, we want to reiterate the importance of safety restraints.  We are not saying they should be used, we are saying they must be used.  The law requires it, but more importantly, a safety restraint can save your child's life.  Most accidents occur in parking lots or close to home.  So it does not matter if you are just going around the block, you must strap your child in.  We also want to stress the importance of discussing seat belt safety with other adults and guardians who may be transporting your children in your absence.

In the state of Kansas, the law varies based on a child's age, weight, and height.  The law outlines the following requirements must be met:

1. Children less than 1 year old, or under twenty pounds must be seated in a "rear-facing child safety seat."
2. Ages 1-3 can ride forward, but must still be in a safety seat.
3. Ages 4-7 must ride in a booster seat, unless they weigh over 80 pounds, are 57 inches or taller, or travelling in a vehicle that only has a seat belt available.
4. Ages 8-13 must wear a seat belt when the vehicle is in motion
5. Ages 14 and under must always ride inside the vehicle and in seats, therefore, this age group is forbidden from riding in unrestricted areas, such as the bed of truck.

In Missouri, you child must ride in a safety seat if:

1. Your child is less than 4 years old, or weighs less than 40 pounds.
2. Ages 4-7 that either weigh under 80 pounds or are not 57 inches or taller.
3. Ages 18 and under are required to wear a seat belt at all times & are forbidden from riding in open-air truck beds.

Missouri seat belt law also requires that you have an appropriately fitted safety seat for your child.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.