The victims were three-year-old Paityn Marie Zuleger on September 8th and three month-old Caia Cleary on September 9th.
The Montana Highway Patrol said that no one was restrained in the September 8th crash, while in the September 9th crash, the baby was in a car seat, but it was ejected during the incident.
Kira Huck, co-chair of the Safe Kids Missoula Coalition, stated that improper installation of child safety seats is the leading cause of unintentional deaths of children in the U.S. A correctly installed car seat can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent. Her organization helps parents learn how to safely fasten a child car seat in a vehicle.
Huck also said that parents also do not realize that car safety seats can expire. The more that a car seat is exposed to heat and cold, the plastic becomes degraded and is not safe. Car seats should also be appropriate for a child’s age, weight, and height. The safety seat also needs to face the right direction, which is rear-facing until at least the age of two.
Missoula Rural Fire Department does car seat safety checks on the second Saturday of each month. The Missoula Rural Fire Department mentioned that failure to have children properly fastened in their car seat is a primary violation and will result in a misdemeanor.