Fatal accident spotlights need for car safety

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A recent fatal accident shines the light on the importance of car safety. One child is dead and her sister is fighting for her life, all because of a tragic accident Thursday where the two girls were not properly strapped in the car.

The five others in the vehicle suffered minor injuries but were released from the hospital the same day as the crash.

Hancock County Sheriff Deputy Don Buem said, "The accident we just had on the interstate the other day is a perfect example. If those two were not in a makeshift car seat, put in a car, not from the manufacturer, she may still be alive today."

Buem has just become a certified child passenger safety technician. He says way too many times he responds to car accidents with injuries that could have been prevented.

"It's really about the life and the safety of the child, it really is," Buem said.

Buem was certified as safety technician through the Buckling Down Project here in South Mississippi, a group that is dedicated to making sure child passengers are properly restrained in cars.

"About 90 percent of the people on the coast are using the car seats incorrectly," Health Educator Brad Williams said. "That's why we have community check points, to make people aware we are out here. You can have your seat checked anytime you want."

Williams works hard to get the word out there, so children do not die because of not being properly restrained in a car. That is why he said he remains speechless two days after learning of the tragic accident that claimed the life of 10-year-old Taliyah Meghee.

"I still don't have anything to say. That's a tragedy, but it's very predictable. If you have a seat someone is riding in that's not been built by the manufacturer of the car, that was not made for that vehicle, that's an accident that is waiting to happen," Williams said.

Beum said, "It's really important that the kids and parents are aware that they need to be in seat belts and proper child restraints."

To learn more about car safety or to get your child's car seat checked free of charge, call the Buckling Down Project at 228-436-6770 or click here for a list of locations.

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