Mom Installs Car Seat Wrong, Charged With Baby's Death

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car seat installed wrong mom charged with baby's death

Is jail the answer?

A 24-year-old woman has been charged with vehicular homicide in the death of her 13-month-old daughter. In 2006, Eileen Jensen was driving a car in which her three daughters were passengers, when she smashed into the back of a minivan and caused a three-car collision.

Jensen's daughter Chloe, who was three months old at the time, was sitting in a loosely installed rear-facing car seat in the front passenger seat of the car. When the car crashed, the air bag deployed and Chloe suffered a head trauma from which she died 10 months later.

According to the law in the state of Washington, where the accident took place, all children under the age of 13 must sit in the backseat of a car when practical. After the accident, a witness told police that Jensen said she put the baby in the front seat because she was only going a couple of blocks. Other witnesses said that Jensen was driving erratically, and Jensen said she blacked out just before the crash because she was sleep deprived. Police say the two girls sitting in the back seat of the car were also improperly secured.

Putting a child's head in front of an air bag is like "putting the child's head in front of an explosion," said Alan Korn, director of public policy for Safe Kids USA.

Prosecutor's have been trying to decide for a year if they should charge Jensen (the accident took place in 2006), and filed charges on Tuesday. If Jensen is convicted, it will be the first time in Washington that a parent has been accountable for the death of a child from an improperly installed car seat.

Based on this information, if you were on the jury, would you convict Jensen? Or do you think that losing her daughter and having to live with it is punishment enough?

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Should a mom who installs a car seat wrong be charged with her child's death?

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Total Votes: 341

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baby gear, safety

53 Comments

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scrap... scrappin_happy

I voted that it depends on the circumstances.  In this particular case, I would probably convict because the carseat was not just improperly installed, it was installed in the front seat of a car w/ an airbag.  Information regarding the dangers of putting a child in the front seat w/ an airbag is far too readily available for her not to know the risks involved.  If it was simply a case of not getting the straps exactly right or something like that, it would be a different story.  You aren't suppose to let a child under 12 years old ride in the front seat, period.   Nevermind the fact that this was a rearfacing infant in the front seat w/ an airbag.  The mom definitely knew better in this case. 

tgiamt tgiamt

I agree with scrappin_happy. Theres no excuse for having an infant in the front seat of a car.

Jessy... Jessy0419

I agree with scrappin_happy as well.

sstepph sstepph

Theres no excuse for having the carseat in the front seat. Thats just being irresponsible.


Yesterday, I was watching Desperate Housewives (Old episode) and Lynette had her babies carseat in the front seat with her & I thought ... I wonder how many mothers/fathers thinks thats safe?


Yes, its awful that she had to lose her baby and I don't wish that on any mother, but how hard would it have been to put her baby's carseat in the back and taken that extra time?

Katie... KatieCrandall

I don't think it's every ok to have them installed improperly...however, I know sometimes they are REALLY hard to get in and you may not notice  the error (like in my vehicle, I couldn't tell until I went to the other side of the backseat and saw that the carseat had shifted).  This woman should definitely be charged, though, as the no-front-seat rule is one we ALL know.  Most accidents happen within a few miles of the home, so her excuse is terrible, too!

scmom... scmomma85

I feel bad that she lost her daughter, but she should have taken the time to read the instructions on the carseat and common knowledge to not drive while your tired, and not put infants and young children in the front seat of a car. I would say guilty, but its not my place to judge her. People do need to be held accountable for their actions though. JMO

luvmy... luvmybabies1412

its a horrible loss that she suffered. unfortunately...car seats dont go in the front seat!!!!!!!! correctly installed or not. it says it on every warning label. it says it in the car. it says it in the car seat manual. it says it on the sides of the car seat.  that's why the warning labels are there. so things like this dont happen.

Jazzy... JazzyMommyx3

no excuse when you leave the hostipal they will show you how to install the carseat. they also have places at firestations and police stations where they can inspect how you have them installed and they will teach you. take the time to learn your childs life is at risk.

RanaA... RanaAurora

JazzyMommy, not all hospitals do, and not everyone knows about check stations.  However, please don't think I'm saying that's an excuse.


I think that as a mother, it's YOUR JOB to know  how to put your child in the car not only safely, but in a manner that isn't against your state law (and that includes forward-facing a 9 month old - it IS illegal), and you should be charged accordingly.  Ignorance or some made up old wive's tale is no excuse for not taking care of your child correctly.


In this particular case, I agree with scrappin_happy too.  This wasn't just a mom who wasn't sure how the seat went in.  This was a mother who made no effort to even try.

babyb... babyboomboom

Yes.  She sould be charged.  There is NO EXCUSE for having an improperly installed car seat.  You can find a certifed tech. to check your car seat at www.usa.safekids.org .  There is NO EXCUSE for stupidity.  The car seat check is free.  If you don't get your seat checked and your kid dies because it was not installed properly then it is your fault your children died.

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