Safely fitting a car seat can save a child’s life, as more than 325 children under the age of five are saved by car seats in a single year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
However, a large portion of new parents don’t realize that they may be installing the car seat incorrectly, which can reduce its effectiveness.
To provide additional instruction and training on installing car seats, a training event was held Thursday at the Marquette Township Fire and Rescue Building.
“Up to 90% of new parents install their car seat incorrectly,” Shilpa Jhobalia, parent liaison for Great Start Collaborative Marquette, told the Mining Journal. “Sometimes the straps are bad or not tight enough. I told (the interns) that you are going to save lives.
The multi-agency collaboration included personnel from several local police departments, fire departments and medical care facilities who were there to offer instruction on the proper installation and use of car seats. The training was conducted by five downstate instructors who traveled to the Upper Peninsula for training, resulting in 23 new trainees.
“About a year ago we realized there was a need in our community for more certified child passenger safety technicians due to the pandemic, and some of the current technicians have retired. There were simply not many people available to provide this service. said Corey Holcomb, director of early childhood education at Community Action Alger Marquette. “It’s really important that we have this opportunity in the community.”
Staff from CAAM, UP Health Care Solutions, UP Perinatal Collaborative, Marquette County Health Department WIC and other community members also helped organize and sponsor the event.
The event also allowed some low-income families to receive a free car seat.
“Previously, the Kids Always Ride Safely program, which subsidized car seats as well as installation and education for families, lost funding and was shut down,” said Katrina Keough, project manager at Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions. “It left a very big void in a resource that many used to ensure their families were riding safely on the road. Following the end of the KARS program, many instructors lost their ability to maintain their certifications and child passenger safety certified technicians were no longer able to maintain their certifications up to date and as a result families are found with no or no proper car seats. at all.”
Certified child passenger safety technicians have focused on parent training, as this will allow parents to properly install the car seat themselves in the event that they need to move the car seat. This training ensures that it will be installed safely.
We commend the organizers for their efforts to keep children in the community safe and we hope to see more such events held in the area, as these are truly life-saving efforts.
We also encourage parents to verify their car seat installation and refer to online resources, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Car Seat and Booster Seat Installation Guidelines. and information at www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats.