Police: Baby killed in hit-and-run wasn’t buckled in

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IMPD detectives say the 7-month-old baby boy killed in Tuesday’s late night hit-and-run was not buckled into his car seat.

“It appears the car seat was not fastened inside the car and the child was not securely fastened inside that car seat,” said IMPD Lt. Chris Bailey.

Police say they are looking for two people who ran from the scene of the crash that killed the baby. The crash happened at 11 p.m. Tuesday. Investigators say two vehicles were eastbound on 38th Street near I-65 when one vehicle struck the other from behind. Police say the rear vehicle ended up in a ditch and the two occupants took off running from the scene.

Overnight, police dogs and a helicopter were used to try and find the pair, but so far nothing has turned up.

The front vehicle contained a family of five. The impact of the crash caused the smaller car to spin and eject the baby from the vehicle’s rear passenger seat. When officers arrived, they found the 7-month-old near a guardrail. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

The mother went to the hospital in good condition. The baby’s father, a teenager, and a 3-year-old in the car were transported to the hospital in good condition.

Police took statements at the scene that indicated the suspect vehicle was traveling in a reckless manner and was speeding on East 38th Street just prior to the crash.

“Anytime when you hear of a child dying in any manner, its devastating. Then whenever you think about the whole picture and knowing it was probably preventable, it makes it even worse. Makes it even harder to take,” said Sherry Deane, a child seat safety instructor for AAA.

Deane says parents as a whole do a poor job of correctly installing child car seats and buckling in their kids.

“The statistics say about 80 percent of the seats are misused, but honestly when we do car seat inspections we find just about 100 percent misuse rate” said Deane.

The child seat expert says the biggest mistake parents make when installing an infant car seat is not ensuring the base is tight and secure. It should not move more an an inch in any direction. Deane says statistics tell the story. Properly using a child car seat reduces injuries.

“In most cases when kids are in car seats, the chance of surviving is so great,” said Deane.

There are many options in Central Indiana for parents interested in getting their car seats inspected:

  • IU Health Methodist Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health offer car seat events in the spring, summer and fall. The first clinic in Indianapolis is April 21. The location has yet to be determined.
  • IU Health West Hospital offers car seat inspections to maternity patients.
  • IU Health North Hospital offers car seat inspections on weekdays by appointment. The hospital also has this website that explains proper car seat installation.
  • St. Vincent Fishers Hospital offers car seat inspections by appointment. Call 317-338-CARE (2273) to schedule an appointment.
  • AAA offices have certified car seat inspectors who will inspect. To find the closest office, visit the AAA website.
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