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article imageMother buckles gas can in car seat, but doesn't secure toddler

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 7, 2012 in World
Aurora - A woman in Colorado was recently pulled over during a traffic check. Authorities were stunned to find a gas can nicely buckled in a car seat while the woman's toddler, wearing only a diaper, was not securely restrained in the car.
The young child in the photo appears to be sitting loose in the back seat.
The Denver Post reports Aurora, Colo., police discovered the toddler in the back seat of a woman's car sitting next to the gas can, occupying what is presumably the child's car seat.
"This could be one of the extreme incidents we've ever seen," Aurora Police spokesman Frank Fania, told the Denver Post. The woman was stopped on May 30 by police conducting "improper turn enforcement" in the area.
Not only wasn't a car seat being used for the child, none of the vehicle's occupants were wearing a seat belt, including the woman's other child, a 14-year-old.
After getting pulled over and asked about the seat belts, the woman apologized and indicated that they'd forgotten to buckle up.
Lieutenant Chuck DeShazer, Commanding Officer of the Aurora Police Department Traffic Sections told 9 News when the officer inquired about the child sitting in the backseat and not in his car seat, reportedly the woman replied, "Oh, he unbuckles and buckles his seatbelt by himself all the time."
The officer then asked about the child buckling the gas canister in the seat, and reportedly the woman couldn't come up with an answer to that query.
An image was taken by police of the child sitting in the backseat next to the gas can. The photo, which the Colorado Dept. of Transportation posted on its Facebook page, garnered a lot of attention (note: the Facebook link was working shortly before publish, but at time of publish is unavailable).
The caption accompanying the photo said, "Unbelievable! This heartbreaking photo was taken by an officer with the Aurora Police Department during Click It or Ticket enforcement last week. Share it to remind everyone that life is precious, so please be responsible and make sure children are properly restrained in the appropriate child safety seat. Go to to find a free local fit station to get help." (courtesy of 9 News)
The photo had generated tons of replies.
Colorado state law requires passengers aged 8 and under to be properly fitted in a child safety seat; this law took effect on August 1, 2010. Previous law required children up to aged 5 to be in a child car seat or booster. A one-year grace period expired last August. Either way, the diapered child was not old enough not to be restrained in a car seat, even under the old law.
The identity of the driver had not initially been shared publicly. She was cited for no seat belt use and also no proof of insurance. However, the Huffington Post later reported the woman had been identified and says he unbuckled himself.
“My son was in a seat belt as I (was) getting pulled over,” Sandra Ramirez told Fox 31 Denver. “He’s a very smart guy. He can unbuckle his seat belt. He jumped into the backseat on the other side and put on his ‘big boy’ seat belt.”
"I'm not a bad mom," she said.
She is due in court on June 29. She reportedly is upset by the attention this story has gotten and says she's going to sell her car and stop driving, reported Fox News.
According to National Highway Safety Traffic Administration statistics [PDF], the leading cause of death for children from ages 3 to 14 years old are due to car crashes. The agency reports an estimated 8,959 lives were saved from 1975 to 2008 due to use of child restraints in motor vehicles.
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