‘I went right into the windshield’: police officer reflects on crash, new car seat regulations
SPOKANE, Wash. — She’s responded to countless accidents over the course of her career — and she’s even been involved in one. Now, Corporal Teresa Fuller is ready to enforce Washington’s new car seat regulations.
“Those happen out of the blue. Nobody expects them to happen and so, you could be the safest driver in the world but you’ve got Joe Schmo driving down the road, texting on his cell phone or drinking and driving and bam, your life changes forever,” she says. “The last thing that I want to see when I roll up on a scene is a child that’s been hurt when it could’ve been prevented.”
Fuller tells KXLY when it comes to children and car safety, times have changed — and she’s thankful for that, considering what happened to her when she was younger.
“All it took, it wasn’t even a crash. Some guy pulled out in front of my mom in the gas station, she slammed on her brakes and I went right into the windshield,” she remembers. “Had that been a crash, I probably would not have survived.”
Had she not survived, Fuller wouldn’t be the officer and the mom she is today. She says those are some of the many reasons why she’s found it so important to educate others on car seat safety throughout her career.
“Parents make sure their daycare providers know CPR and parents know CPR, and the babysitters know CPR,” Fuller says. “How many times in your lifetime are you gonna use CPR unless you’re a first responder? But you drive your car everyday.”
She believes Washington’s new car seat regulations will go a long way in preventing injuries and saving young lives.
“Washington already had a very, very progressive child restraint law for the entire United States and this even takes us one step closer to where we need to be,” she says.
House Bill 1012, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee, requires kids under the age of two to sit in rear-facing car seats until they meet height and weight requirements set by seat manufacturers. The bill states that kids from two to three years old need to be harnessed in front-facing car seats until they can fit in a booster seat, while kids under 13 must sit in the backseat.
The biggest change parents and kids will have to adjust to? Kids older than eight may have to stay in booster seats until they’re 4’9″ — that’s when experts say they can properly fit in a seatbelt.
There’s still some time to get used to the new regulations which go into effect on January 1, 2020.
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