Billings - Child passenger safety technicians will inspect your child’s car seat for correct model, size and installation at a car seat clinic on June 14. Inspections will be offered from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at American Medical Response located at 1701 Montana Avenue in Billings. The event is free and open to the public.
Trained technicians will be available to answer questions about choosing the right car seat and when children should graduate to a new car seat or to the vehicle’s adult lap and shoulder belt. Technicians will also demonstrate proper installation of their car seats to those who attend the event. Parents and caregivers are asked to bring the car seat, the vehicle it is used in and, if possible, the child who uses the seat to the check-up event.
Technicians in Montana report that about 80 percent of the car seats they check are not installed properly, according to Koren Bloom, coordinator of Safe Kids Yellowstone County.
“That’s 4 out of 5 car seats not as secure as they should be—which means the services our technicians offer is vital to the safety of Montana’s children,” Bloom said.
The car seat clinic will be the culmination of a four-day national standardized child passenger safety certification course. In addition to classroom coursework and the hands-on car seat inspection, the training includes the latest updates on car seat recalls, car seat models and manufacturers, and national safety guidelines.
“This course is a chance for new technicians to learn their skills and receive the latest information on new regulations and products,” said Koren Bloom. “Our technicians are proud of the work they do to protect children. Properly used, car seats are very effective at preventing injuries to children if they are in a car crash,” Bloom stated.
Bloom urges parents to follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommendation to keep children in their car seat for as long as possible before moving them to the next level. Children should remain in rear-facing seats as long as possible or at least until two years of age. Montana’s law requires children up to age 6, and weighing less than 60 pounds, to be properly buckled in a car seat. After the child reaches those guidelines, they should ride in a booster seat until they are 4’9” tall—when the vehicle’s seat belt fits them properly. For maximum safety, a parent should have their car seat installation inspected by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
For more information about child passenger safety, go online to buckleup.mt.gov or call 1-877-330-BUCKL for personal assistance. Permanent car seat inspection stations are located in most major communities, often at firehouses, health departments or law enforcement agencies. To find an inspection station, go to: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm.