What happens at a car seat check?

Written by Meg McCabe, Safe Kids Coordinator at Connecticut Children’s

Did you know…this week is Child Passenger Safety week! Child Passenger Safety, otherwise known as car seat safety, is a safety initiative that promotes the safe transportation of children in vehicles? Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and the Connecticut Injury Prevention Center have several opportunities available for families to get their car seats checked throughout the year!

As a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, I have seen even the most diligent parents install their car seat incorrectly without realizing it. Between locking the seat in place, making sure the harnesses are snug, making sure the seat fits your child or just keeping track of recalls- it seems like there are thousands of ways a car seat can be installed wrong. In fact, 4 out of every 5 car seats are installed incorrectly! But don’t fret- there are approximately 75 fitting stations located across Connecticut where you can get your seat checked and reinstalled properly.

Child Passenger Safety fitting stations can be found at your local fire or police department, which host regularly occurring car sear check events that are free to the public. Some fitting stations are open to the community while some may be private. Depending on the fitting station you go to, you may be required to schedule an appointment ahead of time.
If you do not have a car seat, some fitting stations like the one at Connecticut Children’s Primary Care Center, may provide new car seats to families who are in need. You can find a complete list of fitting stations in Connecticut at www.ctsafekids.org

When you attend a fitting station there will be certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians ready to check your car seat. All Child Passenger Safety Technicians in Connecticut have attended a 3-4 day Safe Kids certification class on car seats- these technicians know their stuff! I have yet to meet a Child Passenger Safety Technician who isn’t friendly, knowledgeable or excited to answer questions.

Before making the installation, child passenger safety techs will check your seat to see if it is expired or recalled. While they install the seat, they’ll explain to you exactly what they are doing and how they are doing it so as the parent or caregiver, you can make an install more easily yourself. They will even cover other topics such as airbags, projectiles, kids in hot cars and the importance of buckling up. The entire process should take only 30 minutes and by the end of the half hour you will leave with tons of new information, educational materials and a perfectly installed seat.

But most importantly…your child will be safer the next time they are traveling with you in the car.

 

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