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Buckle Up, Baby

Written on August 29, 2006 by Kevin.

My wife and I were out driving the other day and I noticed a minivan with those family stickers on the back. I am always a bit curious who is driving a minivan. I guess you could call it competition of fatherhood. When I ended up pulling next to the minivan, I noticed a baby. A baby in the front passengers lap standing there. I am terrible with judging ages but I would have had to guess that the baby was about 9 months old.

I have seen this in the past here and I imagine most other people have as well. No one will ever be able to explain to me a good reason why you shouldn't have your child buckled up. I fully understand that a crying baby can likely be soothed if you pick them up out of their car seats but the cries of a baby in an accident would be much worse.

I called up the non-emergency police here and they patched me over to a different number. This number was 1-800-505-BABY. It is a local number here in Arizona for people to report children that are not properly in car seats. They ask for basic information such as the license plate number, city and where the child was sitting. After calling them up and giving them the necessary information, I wondered what may happen with these parents. Would they get fined?

After getting home I researched the service a bit further and found that they do not actually fine these parents. The service sends a notice to the car owner stating that they were seen driving with a baby not being restrained. They receive a package full of information to explain why it is necessary. People must understand that it is not safe, how is a packet of information going to help this? Why are these parents not fined? I will never understand this.

Never the less, I am now on a mission to find other children in this situation and report the drivers. I have since programmed the number into the cellphone and certainly will be using it often it seems. I am still very curious if other states have this issue as commonly as I see it. I would suggest checking with your local state officials to see if they have a similar number to report situations like this. I guess it may save a few lives or atleast teach the parents that people are watching them.


I think I've commented before about a child about 7 (I'm bad with guessing age too) I saw here in TX that wasn't buckled up and was moving around in a car while the parent was driving in semi-heavy traffic. The sad part is a cop was nearby, but didn't see the incident and the parent quickly pulled into a parking lot and made her kid buckle. I gestured towards the cop, but I don't think he saw me either. I'm very glad to hear Arizona has a reporting program for observant safety-minded citizens to call. I'm currently checking for a similar program here in TX. Thanks for setting a great parenting example and reminding us safety is sometimes a team effort.

Written by Jessica on Aug 30, 2006

This is a good program. Most folks know what that law is and they avoid it b/c it is more convinient. This is a great way to send them a reminder that what is convinient is not always what is safe for the child.

Written by Sprog Mamma on Aug 30, 2006

After some searching and e-mailing I finally have some information about how people go about contacting officials about improper car seat use as well as where anyone can get a free car seat inspection:

Texas Department of Transportation doesn?t have any information on reporting children not in their car seats, but they did refer me to the Texas Department of State Health that sponsors a ">"> Safe Riders Traffic Safety Program; though it ?does not fund a statewide system for reporting child seat offenses similar to the Buckle Up Baby program in Arizona. Oklahoma also has a statewide program along those lines. The best suggestion that I can make along those lines is that if you see a child that you feel is in danger, you can report it to Texas Child Abuse Hotline 800-252-5400.?

The Texas Department of State Health also gave me a government link to finding locations for free car seat inspections by either zip code, state and also an option to talk to a Spanish speaking technician, so people can have their car seat checked for proper installation.

Written by Jessica on Sep 1, 2006

Well done Jessica. I hope other people find this information valuable. Thank you.

Written by Kevin on Sep 1, 2006

Is there a way to report parents who talk on their cell phones with their own babies in the vehicle? I don't mean to sound like a buzzkill but I don't think we can save every child from potential harm. I remember flying down the highway standing in the backseat of my Aunt's '67 Impala convertable with my sister and about three other assorted cousins and Mom in the passenger seat. No seat belts, and STANDING no less! Kids today can die even while buckled in with proper restraints. It's the luck of the draw.

While I admire Kevin's fortitude, I would keep in mind the needed perspective concerning child safety issues. Just as poor old Steve Irwin may have thought, "Stingrays aren't DANGEROUS." parent's must remember even the safest looking situation can become life threatening in an instant.

Good work you vigilantes!!! Just remember your own precious cargo while looking for the speed dial button.

Written by Phil on Sep 5, 2006

this is a money wasting program - if you see a dangerous situation - call the police - and make sure you pull over to do it and not dial your cell phone while driving (a MUCH larger problem btw)

i got one of these letters yesterday and guess what? i have NO children and haven't driven a child in my car for years

just say NO to big brother - it's ineffective

Written by get a life on Oct 11, 2006

I agree to a point, this may be a worthless program as the parents riding around with their children in their lap likely already know its not safe.

I did however call the police and they forwarded me to the other number. It appears that the police will do little unless they see it themselves while making their rounds.

Written by Kevin on Oct 11, 2006

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