18 March 2009

Car Safety Seat Usage in Memphis and Shelby County: Local Resources and Action Steps

On January 22nd of this year, a three year-old girl was killed in an automobile accident in North Memphis. Officers report that the child was not safely secured in her car seat (Holmes, 2009).

In 2006, 5 children in Shelby County under the age of five were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Furthermore, the most recent data regarding restraint usage among Shelby County children aged 0-4 in motor vehicle accidents suggest that improper child safety seat usage happens far too often in our community. In 2003, 164 (7%) of Shelby County children under age 5 involved in motor vehicle accidents were either restrained improperly or not restrained at all (Memphis and Shelby County Health Department, 2009).

Tennessee State Law requires that children under age 9 or smaller than 4 feet, 9 inches must be restrained in some type of car safety seat when traveling in a motor vehicle. This law is designed to save lives and protect our youngest citizens from catastrophic brain, head and spine injuries that can occur from safety seats that are defective or improperly used.

Currently Available Local Resources:

Parents receiving financial aid from the State of Tennessee can obtain a regulation child restraint seat for a reduced price at the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department. For more information, contact the Car Seat Safety/Loaner Program at 901.544.7687.

LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center and Safe Kids Mid-South is hosting a workshop designed to teach parents how to correctly install and secure a car safety seat. The workshop will be held March 21, 2009 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Babies R’ Us, 3525 Riverdale, Memphis. For more information, visit www.lebonheur.org/safekids.

The National SafeKids Campaign provides the following recommendations to regulators and legislators:

- State legislatures, governors and citizens should work to close the gaps in existing child occupant protection laws.

- State child care licensing agencies should revisit their regulations and ensure that children are securely restrained in size-appropriate restraint systems in all child care settings.


Helms, S. (personal communication, February 2009).

Holmes, K. (2009, January 22). Child seat safety: Confronting parents. Eyewitness News. Retrieved March 18, 2009 from

Mickalide, A.D., Colella, J.M., Korn, A.R., Ross, T.C., & Paul, H.A. Transportation in child care settings: Parent knowledge and state regulations. Washington, DC: National SAFE
KIDS Campaign, February 2003.

Memphis and Shelby County Health Department. (2009, March 17). Motor vehicle accidents, Shelby county, children under 5 years of age. Dyer, K. (personal communication, March 2009).

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