Free car seat safety checks scheduled for next week

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Local law enforcement has offered car seat checks at various points in the past. The Okoboji Police Department helped check seats near Lakes Regional Healthcare in 2018. (File photo)

Dickinson County Public Health will provide child seat safety checks from 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23 at the Spirit Lake Public Library. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of unintentional death in children. About 60 percent of car crashes involving children occur 10 minutes or less from home. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician April Weber will be at the library to check the child safety seats of infants to school-age children. There is no cost or appointment necessary to attend the event — parents and caregivers can attend as their schedules allow. Expectant parents are also encouraged to attend.

Those planning on attending the car seat safety check are encouraged to:

• Be prepared to learn, not just watch the technician install the car seat. Technicians are trained to teach others how to properly use child car seats.

• Install the seat in your vehicle before coming to the event.

• Bring the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual with you to the event.

• Know your child’s height and weight, and bring your child with you. If possible, also bring another adult to help watch the child while you talk with the technician.

The check typically takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the car seat and vehicle. Weber will check as many car seats as possible during the event. During the check, the technician will:

• Complete a form to note a variety of information, including the car seat type, location in vehicle and misuse observations, if any.

• Ensure that your car seat is appropriate for your child’s age, and size, and review factors affecting proper use.

• Review the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual to ensure that both are being followed correctly.

• Ensure that an appropriate seating position in the vehicle is being used.

• Check the car seat for recalls, visible damage and an expiration date.

• Watch you install the car seat(s) correctly using either the seat belt or LATCH system.

• Discuss the next steps for each child, such as when to graduate to the next type of car seat.

• Discuss the benefits of everyone riding properly buckled in, including all adults.

• Discuss safety in and around the vehicle.

• Answer questions.

The car seat safety checks is the first in a three-part series on maternal and child health at the Spirit Lake Public Library. The other two events will cover oral health and tobacco education and prevention. Those with questions about the first event are encouraged to call Dickinson County Public Health at 712-339-6050.

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