An unrestrained 1-year-old boy was thrown from an SUV and seriously injured during a Monday morning traffic crash on Interstate 12 near Essen Lane, authorities said.
Seven other people — including three children — also were injured in the 8:30 a.m. crash, East Baton Rouge Parish Emergency Medical Services spokesman Mike Chustz said. All eight were taken to medical facilities.
For the complete statute regarding restraining children in vehicles, visit: http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc88231.
The unrestrained toddler is in intensive care at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Police Department spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.
Another child suffered a concussion and the other two are in stable condition, McKneely said. The children’s ages were not available. All four adults are in stable condition.
The children all were unrestrained and riding in the same Kia SUV when the crash occurred, McKneely said.
The Kia, driven by a woman, was northbound on the Essen Lane entrance ramp to I-12 when the vehicle failed to maneuver a curve, crossed a grassy area and hit another SUV and a Honda car traveling east on I-12, McKneely said.
Five people were in the other SUV and one person was in the Honda, McKneely said.
Investigators with the Police Department’s Traffic Homicide Division are looking into the crash, McKneely said.
Charges against the driver of the Kia are pending the results of a toxicology test, he said.
McKneely called the injuries to the children unnecessary.
“If they would have used proper restraints, that 1-year-old wouldn’t have been thrown and the other child wouldn’t have a concussion,” he said.
McKneely encouraged people who see unrestrained children riding in a vehicle to call 911 and give a detailed description of the vehicle and its location to the dispatcher.
Authorities will then try to track the vehicle and issue a citation to the driver.
The law requires any child younger than 6 years old, or weighing less than 60 pounds, to be properly restrained using either a car seat or booster seat.
Fifty-four percent of children killed in accidents in Louisiana in 2010 were not properly secured, according to data from the Highway Safety Research Group. The statistic is for children younger than 5.
Researchers have seen an increase in the number of children restrained in vehicles.
Just 62 percent of children younger than 5 were restrained in vehicles in 1995, according to the group. That number has increased to 92 percent for 2010, statistics show.
Advocate staff writer Katie Kennedy contributed to this report.