Have you ever had your child’s car seat or booster checked by a professional? Huh, a professional what? A professional car seat technician is also called a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). Now is your chance to have your seat checked! It’s Child Passenger Safety Week! Child Passenger Safety Week is intended to generate awareness about child car safety and car seat check events are happening all over the nation, especially on September 24th which is National Seat Check Saturday.
Many of us know that car crashes are a leading cause of death in children. As parents, we all want to keep our children safe from harm and strive to do our best in every area possible. But technology changes quickly and improvements to child restraints are happening constantly, and rules and laws change periodically to reflect that. It can be difficult to keep up with the plethora of information that is out there. There are different rules for every single car seat and every single vehicle, along with the general rules and principles that apply to all. CPSTs are there to help you sort through all of this information and help you know the essential information to buckle up your child correctly every time.
Why is this important?
Because despite most of us thinking we’ve got it right, 3 out of every 4 seats are not installed correctly and many of them have at least one element of critical misuse.
I used to be one of those parents. I thought car seats were pretty self-explanatory…you buckle the seat in, and then you buckle the kid. Until I took a sharp turn one day and the car seat fell over because it wasn’t installed tight enough. What I’ve learned since then: car seats aren’t just a hunk of plastic to sit in. Car seats are actually a sophisticated (and therefore complicated) piece of safety equipment that come with detailed instructions on how to use them properly. If those instructions aren’t understood and followed, your child may not be protected. These mistakes can be deadly. A car seat does not need to be expensive to be effective and very safe. It just needs to be appropriate for your child, vehicle, and one you feel confident that you can install correctly every time.
Oklahoma recently updated its Child Restraint Law in 2015. These changes were based on data from hundreds of crash tests and national statistics on the death and serious injury of children in motor vehicle crashes. Following this law is vitally important to their safety, but there is further information on the safest known ways to transport children in cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set up this website where you can find the latest information, including recalls. You can also visit the Ultimate Carseat Guide to get personalized tips for your child. Check out the 5-Step-Test before transitioning big kids to an adult seat belt.
Safe Kids Oklahoma is hosting car seat check events all week as a free opportunity to have an expert look over your car seat, vehicle, and teach you the ins and outs of installing your car seat perfectly every time. You can also inquire about assistance programs for low-income families. Go here to find an event near you! Other places to get your car seat checked for free are most metro Fire Departments, EMSA OKC, and Oklahoma State Department of Health/Injury Prevention Service.
Moms, we are all in this together. It takes a village, and we are here to help each other keep our kids as safe as possible. No judgment!