A 3-year-old Cambria boy and his father, Ronnie Clemmons, died in a single vehicle rollover accident Sept. 1 on the Highway 46 East. Nichole Clemmons, 20, was driving the Nissan Titan when the truck drifted off the roadway. When the driver tried to overcorrect, the truck left the roadway and rolled over, according to an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The boy, Caleb Clemmons, who was in a child car seat, and his father were both ejected from the vehicle. Ronnie Clemmons was reportedly not wearing his seatbelt.
Nichole Clemmons and 10-month-old Lauren Clemmons reportedly suffered minor injuries. California Highway Patrol officials are saying that the focus of the auto accident investigation is whether the child safety seat was properly restrained in the vehicle at the time of the rollover crash. Drugs or alcohol were not involved in the accident, CHP officials say.
Please keep this grieving family, which has lost two beloved family members, in your prayers. I offer my deepest condolences to the Clemmons family.
It will be interesting to see whether the child car seat holding Caleb was properly restrained in the vehicle. If it was, then investigators should look into whether there was a product defect as far as the child car seat is concerned. Did the car seat hold up and protect the child as it was supposed to during that rollover crash? The infant in the car seems to have been secured and escaped with minor injuries. It is indeed unfortunate that Ronnie Clemmons was not buckled up. That seatbelt could have saved his life.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) auto accidents are the leading cause of death in children between ages 2 and 14. Every day in the United States, at least five children are killed in motor vehicle accidents and 568 are injured, according to this 2006 study. Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatality for infants (below 1 year) by 71 percent and for toddlers (1-4 years) by 54 percent, the report states. In 2006, there were 452 child passenger fatalities. Out of those children, 65 percent were restrained either with a safety seat or adult seatbelt and 35 percent were completely unrestrained.
It is critical for parents to learn how to correctly install a child car seat in their vehicles. There are several Web sites such as Consumer Reports that rate the quality of car seats.