If you have struggled, sweat dripping down your face as you try to install your child’s safety seat. Help is now on the way.
Parents now have the option of going to safety seat installment classes, calling for a Mobile Car Seat Check Up Van, or using their own personal, nationally certified child passenger safety technician to install their child’s safety seat. You will have to check to see what your area offers.
Safe Kids Worldwide studies show that correctly installed safety seats increase the safety of kids. In a crash, the risk of death is decreased by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers when the car seat is properly secured. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a 2001 study found that 73 percents of the car seats were being installed improperly.
Not only must your child be appropriately fitted with the right car seat and safely restrained, but you must know what kind of seat your car can accommodate. Car seats are not standardized and their fit is different from car to car. Your car owner’s manual or your dealer will be able to help you out in telling you what kind of car seat is compatible with your own car.
When you install the car seat, the manufacturer’s instructions must be followed exactly. If you have lost or misplaced the instructions, you can call the company for another copy. The manufacturer can be found on the car seat label which will also have the address and phone number. To get a replacement, you must have the name of the car seat. That should also be on the label. If it does not have a label, do not purchase or use the seat as it may be damaged from a car accident.
If you can not understand the instructions once you find them, you can contact the manufacturer. Some hospitals and police stations offer assistance or workshops, too.
A study done by Safe Kids Worldwide shows that workshops on installing the car seats are quite effective. The study covers 29 states that held child passenger car seat installment clinics in 2005.
A second child safety seat clinic showed that 45 percent of the parents increased theirs skills when they came back to install booster seats. The parents had hands-on instructions on at a prior car seat installment class. However, Safe Kids Worldwide stated that while many parents had improved their skills, there was still room for improvement
Besides improving parents skills in installing the seats, Safe Kids studies showed that the number of parents being taught these skills need to increase. Mainly, highly educated parents were reached while the less educated parents did not take advantage of these clinics. Also, they were not properly installing the seats.
As a result, Safe Kids plans to create more inspections stations and workshops in the low income neighborhoods. General Motors Corporation is the major financial supporter for this out growth. In an effort to reach all parents, General Motors sponsors 119 Mobile Car Seat Check Up Vans. They are employed in areas with no access to permanent safety inspection stations.
Does classes or tracking down an inspection station that may or may not be in your area seem like too much work? Or is hunting down tags and calling up manufacturers not your cup of tea?
Most of 30,000 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-certified Child Passsenger Safety Technicians work for free. A few charge a nominal fee. Debbi Baer, a delivery nurse and her daughter, a medical resident in Philadelphia work by appointment. Together, they get about 50 to 60 calls a week and do about 30 to 40 installations. Baer charge $15 for each installment but will waive her fee for someone who cannot afford it. She says that, “This is not a money making thing.”
Everyone agrees that it should not take a trained professional to install your child’s car seat. While manufacturers advertise that each year’s model is easier to install than last year’s, the sheer number and variety of seats is enough to confound a trained engineer.
Good fitting car seats keep your children safe. This is just as important is driving a safe car and keeping it in good condition which keep everyone safe