To celebrate Child Passenger Safety Week, Safe Kids and South County Fire will offer free car seat safety checks by appointment from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
A limited supply of free car seats will be available for families who need assistance. This event requires registration at www.southsnofire.org/carseats.
Nearly half of child car seats are used incorrectly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), potentially leading to life-altering injuries or even death in a crash. Caregivers can find a certified child passenger safety technician to check car seats at www.wacarseats.com.
South County Fire also offers a free online class where caregivers can learn how to keep a child safe from birth to the adult seat belt. Register at www.southsnofire.org/carseats.
Keeping your child safe at every age and stage:
– State law requires children to ride rear-facing until age 2. NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend rear-facing even longer, up to the top height and/or weight allowed by the car seat.
– Once a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, they are ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.
– After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be placed in a booster seat until tall enough to fit in a seat belt properly (at least 4 feet, 9 inches).
– Staying in each stage for as long as possible is the safest way a child can ride. Check your car seat owner’s manual to learn about your car seat’s height and weight limits.
– Booster seats are an essential step between car seats and seat belts. Booster seats position the seat belt so it fits properly over the stronger parts of your child’s body.
– Don’t feel pressured to put your child in a seat belt too soon. If your child is ready to use a seat belt (typically between 8-12 years old), ensure the seat belt fits correctly. A good way to tell if your child is ready for the seat belt is if their feet can touch the floor of your vehicle.
– The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat — it’s the law.
In addition to child car seat safety training, South County Fire offers free online classes on ACT first aid and CPR, child safety and CPR, family disaster preparedness, aging in place, and home fire safety. Learn more at www.southsnofire.org/classes.