A police photo of the scene went viral: a diaper-clad two-year-old using an adult seatbelt next to a booster seat containing a gas can, securely buckled. Many parents have voiced concern that a mother decided to buckle in a gas can more securely than her own child.
Sandra Ramirez, the mother in question, says that she did not buckle her son in that way. According to Ramirez, her son Christian slipped out of the child safety seat and fastened himself into the open seat next to him. Ramirez’s 14-year-old son Joseph Robles said that he was originally holding the gas can, but he decided to buckle it in to the car seat to avoid spilling gas.
Aurora police stopped Ramirez on May 30. Police were cracking down on seatbelt use for the Click It or Ticket campaign, and they noticed that Ramirez was not wearing a seatbelt. She received four citations; three for violating seatbelt law and one for driving without proof of insurance.
Other parents interviewed by local news outlets said that many kids can escape their car seats. Parents need to keep an extra eye on their children throughout a car ride to make sure they are securely buckled in for the entire trip, according to Allen Robnett of the Aurora Fire Department.
“Make sure they’re still secured and again if they’re not secured, you pull off to the side of the road and then re-secure the child,” said Robnett. He said his 2-year-old granddaughter has figured out how to get out of her car seat.
Car accidents can happen at any time. Always make sure that your child is secured properly in the car seat, and that the car seat is properly installed. Nearly 70 percent of children are improperly secured in car seats, according to SeatCheck.org.
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