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Child safety seat inspections planned

State patrol officer says parents may not know how to use devices

The Colorado State Patrol, Craig Police Department and Craig Fire/Rescue want people buckled into automobiles safely but this time their focus isn’t adults, it’s children.

The three agencies have joined with Craig Ford and Kmart to educate the public and ensure motorists have safe child car seats that are being used properly.

“We’re involved for two reasons,” Trooper Brad Keadle with the Colorado State Patrol said. “One, because it’s our duty and two, we’re combining efforts to help other agencies with what they’ve elected to do and that is keep children safe.”

There will be a car seat inspection and education event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Craig Ford. CSP car seat specialist Doug Kline will be on hand to inspect car seats and ensure they’re working properly and to educate parents on the correct way to fasten children in.

“Everyday there are recalls that go out on car seats,” Keadle said. “Our professionals keep up on those and it’s important for people to have their car seats inspected.”

There are several issues parents should be aware of, Keadle said. Used car seats have no warranty. Neither do car seats that have been involved in even the slightest accident. Others don’t fit in certain types of vehicles.

In many instances, the car seat is safe, but parents don’t fasten it correctly, Keadle said. They fasten it too loosely.

“If the car seat is not in properly, it can move,” he said.

Kmart has donated several car seats that will be given to

people who can’t afford to replace theirs.

“Ultimately, we want to make sure people have a car seat,” Keadle said.

The danger of not having a properly fastened car seat is clear.

Keadle said he recently responded to an accident in which a two-year-old died because he had pushed the button that released his car seat straps and was ejected from the seat.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 30,500 children under the age five are injured in motor vehicle collisions each year. Hundreds are killed.

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children from ages 1 to 14, according to the National Organization for Car Seat Use.

About 50 percent of these deaths of children under 5 involved children who were unrestrained. Of those who were restrained, misuse is reported in 80 to 95 percent of cases. Injuries requiring hospitalization are even more common, and many involve the head, neck and spine. Some of these injuries are permanent.

Properly functioning car seats are made so a two-year-old cannot release the buckle, Keadle said.

He also warns parents against placing car seats in the front seat or putting them in so they face forward.

“They recommend that children up to 12 months be rear-facing and in the back seat,” Keadle said.

Officers also will inspect the condition of the seatbelt. Keadle said many people without children attend these types of events to have their seatbelts inspected.

“Some people just want to make sure their seatbelts are working properly,” he said.

Coca-Cola has offered to provide free soft drinks and hotdogs to participants at the event and American Greeting will give helium balloons to children who attend.


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