CHP stressing car seat safety after baby girl dies in crash

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Gilbert Flores was painting his house Monday on Road 124 when he heard the crash and saw a bundle of cloth sail through the air.

"It looked like a blanket flying out of the van, and when I got closer, I noticed the baby was there by the tire."

Investigators say 5-month-old Vanessa Torres wasn't buckled into her car seat.

RELATED: Infant killed in Tulare County crash

The force of the collision sent her out the van's back window.

She didn't survive.

"It isn't about parents being neglectful, or not caring for their kids, it's not knowing what it takes to install a seat safely," says Officer Steve Beal of the California Highway Patrol.

WATCH: Child Safety Seat How-To Videos

Officers say about 95% of parents in Tulare County do not buckle their children in correctly.

Certified technicians offer these pieces of advice:
  • Kids under the age of two should always use rear-facing car seats
  • Take the time to carefully read and understand the warning labels on the car seat
  • Use a car seat designed for your child's weight and height
  • Make sure the seat itself is not too loose

On that last point, officers offer this advice: pull the seat belt all the way out, make sure it locks and clicks, and that there is no slack.

"You don't want it to move more than an inch where the belt connects to the car," said CHP Officer Derek Jackson.

LINK: CHP Child Safety Seat Information

The CHP recommends all parents stop by an office to let technicians take a look at your car seat and give it a safety tune-up.

The service is free and could prevent another family from going through the same pain.

In addition to going to a CHP office, you can also schedule an appointment with Valley Children's Hospital to speak with a technician. The number to call is 559-353-6204.
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