Guest Author - Charisse Van Horn
Having your child properly secured in his or her car seat is one of the most important steps a parent or caregiver can take to ensure the safety of their young passengers. Unfortunately, many people today continually drive with children improperly fastened in their car seats, with car seats that are not properly secured in the vehicle, or with a child that has outgrown their car seat and is no longer adequately protected. Even worse, many continue to operate motor vehicles without children restrained in car seats at all. This problem is of great concern for several reasons, injury and death.
First, the misuse of car seats has captured the attention of the American Pediatrics Association due to the amount of unnecessary injuries that children suffer from not being properly secured. Second the U.S. Government has decided the issue is so serious that they have an organization that deals with car seats and their safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government resource that will provide you with information regarding the proper use and installation of car seats, free car seat checks, and even provides a contact form where consumers may report faulty or damaged car seats that they have purchased.
The statistics are staggering. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of children, and other studies show that 12% of children under 80 pounds arenít wearing any car restraints at all. Many parents fail to realize that they can have their car seat inspected and even attend a free training class that will instruct them on the proper methods for restraining and installing cars seats. Two websites focus on this issue and provide a database of car seat inspection locations.
Seat Check.org can be contacted through their website or by calling their toll free number, 1-866-SEAT-CHECK. They have a number of great links and resources for caregivers who would like to find out their state laws or learn more about car seat safety. Additionally, consumers can visit the NHTSA website at: www.nhtsa.dot.gov and find a child seat fitting station in his or her local area. The car seat inspection is free of charge and will ensure that caregivers are installing and using their car seat correctly.
Finally, it is important to realize that there are many resources within your local community that will provide car seat inspections for free. Concerned retailers and businesses often sponsor these events. However, if you miss one of these inspections donít worry. Just check with the NHTSA and use their form to find a permanent inspection station in your area.