Safety seat inspection coming up

Published 9:39 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

The safety of children is something parents often worry about, and this weekend children’s car safety can be evaluated free.

Child Safety Seat Inspection Day will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Outlets at Vicksburg. State Farm Agent Robyn Lea, the Vicksburg Police Department and the Outlets at Vicksburg are sponsoring the free inspection.

“A seat that’s not installed properly is just as bad as not having one at all,” Vicksburg police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

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Trained members of the police department will inspect the child seats to insure seats are correctly installed in vehicles and that the child is in an age appropriate seat. Information will also be provided on any seat recalls, Armstrong said.

“We will not only install the seat for you but show the owner how to properly install those seats,” Armstrong said.

Installing a car seat may sound like an easy job, but he said it isn’t.

“We have six to eight child safety seat technicians who have gone through hours of training to become technicians. These individuals know exactly how those child safety seats should be installed,” Armstrong said.

Lea said the technicians are looking to make sure the child is properly restrained in the seat and that the seat is properly secured in the vehicle by checking to see if the seatbelts are properly channeled through the right areas, are attached and tightened correctly and are secure.

“We’re going to have tents set up and people will be able to drive through,” Lea said. “It takes about 10 minutes.”

She said over the years crowds have ranged from 80 people up to 250. No appointments are necessary.

“They do need to allow about 15 minutes, and that is if no one’s waiting,” Lea said. “People will have to wait, but we found in the past people that even had to wait for awhile, didn’t mind.”

Lea said according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 72 percent of child seats are incorrectly installed, and over the past decade, 9,000 children ages 12 and under died in wrecks. She said according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children and many of those deaths could have been prevented. Most parents don’t know that the seats are improperly installed so it is important to have them checked just in case, she said.

“Unknowingly, people are putting their children at risk by not having these car seats properly installed, and I think most people think its installed correctly only to find out it’s not,” Lea said.

Armstrong said the police department participates in several safety seat checks a year at various locations in the city. He said the police department would have a few child seats available to give to families in need who cannot afford one otherwise. Water will be provided, and Lea has coloring books to hand out.