It’s hard to imagine driving your car with a flat tire or an airbag that doesn’t work, right? Having either of those problems would make your car significantly more dangerous to you and your passengers. Since both of those seem like a no-brainer, why is it so difficult to properly protect our most precious cargo, our children, in a properly secured child safety seat?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, four out of five car seats are improperly installed. To add to the concern and need for a properly fitting car seat, government statistics show that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for kids aged 2-14.
So, it’s time to make sure your child’s car seat is properly fitted! As part of the Safe Kids of Greater Grand Rapids program, Fire Station No. 1 in Wyoming will be inspecting car seats on January 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. The fire station is located at 1500 Burton St. SW.
Car seat installation errors range anywhere from an incorrect recline angle (especially for young infants) to problems with the vehicle safely belt being too loose, not locked, or not correctly routed through the child seat.
• Inch Test – Once your car seat is installed, give it a good tug at the base where the seat belt goes through it. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
• Pinch Test – Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check your car seat manual). With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.
• For both rear and forward-facing child safety seats, use either the car’s seat belt or the lower attachments, and for forward-facing seats, use the top tether to lock the car seat in place. Don’t use both the lower attachments and seat belt at the same time. They are equally safe, so pick the one that gives you the best fit!
You can pre-register for a car seat inspection by calling Safe Kids of Greater Grand Rapids at 616-391-7233 ext. 2. It’s important that your kids are safe!