The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


August 28, 2005

Kids have proper place in vehicles, officials say


Beginning Nov. 1, the city's fine for failing to properly restrain a child is increasing from $25 to $50, and it can cost up to $94 in fines, court costs and other fees for violators.

From July 1, 2004, to July 30, 2005, Enid Police issued 146 citations for failure to properly restrain a child, according to numbers released by the city clerk's office. The revenue generated from those citations was more than $3,300. Starting Nov. 1, the added revenue of the increased costs will be turned over to Department of Public Safety to be used to promote the use of child safety restraints.

Tommy Davis, Enid Police Department patrol officer, said police don't have a huge problem with residents not using child restraint systems, but anyone not complying is risking serious injury to their child.

"Kids can end up with brain damage," said Davis, who formerly was licensed to properly install child safety seats. Davis said parents a lot of times don't get the straps tight enough, or they buy used seats at garage sales that are broken or have been recalled.

Bill Presley, child safety advocate and member of Garfield County Safe Kids Coalition, said parents many times think they have the seat properly installed, but statistically 75 to 80 percent are not installed incorrectly, according to NHTSA.

Mike Benway, a local insurance agent and member of Safe Kids Coalition, said making sure seats are properly installed and used is one of the most important things parents can do for the safety of their children.

"It's lifesaving," he said.

Norwood was only about three miles away when he was called to the scene of the July 1995 wreck, and he said he won't ever forget the feeling he had driving up on the scene of the crash.

He said some troopers work 20 years and never have to work a child fatality crash.

"The worst thing you can see as a patrolman is a child hurt in an accident," he said.

And many of those injuries can be prevented with proper child restraint use, he said.

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