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North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Celebrate National Seat Check Saturday with Free Resources

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Macon-Bibb County Health Department is teaming up with the Law Firm of Westmoreland, Paterson, Moseley & Hinson to celebrate National Car Seat Check Saturday. Everyone is invited to attend the event on Sept. 29, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Walmart at 6020 Harrison Road in Macon. Visitors will have a chance to claim one of the 52 car seats donated by the law firm and have certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians install the seats.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that as many as 46 percent of car seats are misused. Car Seat Check Saturday is the final day of Child Passenger Safety Week which spans the week of Sept. 23–29. The day is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of proper car seat use and teaching families how to choose and use the correct car seat for kids.

“Car seats can be confusing to install and difficult to use correctly,” said Stephanie Hyman, Health Educator and Safe Kids Coordinator at Macon-Bibb County Health Department. “On Car Seat Check Saturday, trained CPS technicians will make sure that seats are installed properly and teach parents how to secure children and keep them safe on the road.”

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children. Using age- and size-appropriate car seats and installing them correctly are the best ways to reduce these deaths. More than a third of children 12 and younger who died in crashes in 2016 while riding in cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs were unbuckled. Many of those kids could have survived if they had been buckled up.

“Our firm has always prided itself on helping those in time of need,” said Philip Potter of the Law Firm of Westmoreland, Paterson, Moseley & Hinson. “As a firm, we want to help ensure that infants and children are properly protected, and we recognize that making sure that car seats are properly installed and used is one way we can support families in our community.”

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by the particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be placed in a booster seat until tall enough to fit in a seat belt properly. The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat.

You can perform a basic car seat check-up at home by following these five steps:

  1. Right Seat. Make sure the car seat is appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height.
  2. Right Place. Car seats should be installed in the back seat. Children should ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old.
  3. Right Direction. Children should use a rear-facing car seat until age two. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat.
  4. Inch Test. When a car seat is installed, shake the base. If it is properly installed, it will not move more than an inch.
  5. Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled in the correct slots. With the chest clip at armpit level, pinch the strap on your child’s shoulder. If you cannot pinch any excess webbing, your child is properly buckled.

“Every parent wants to keep their children safe,” Hyman said. “Even if you think your child’s car seat is installed correctly, get it checked with a certified technician, and make sure your child is secure while traveling. Make sure your kids are in the right seats, that all seats are installed correctly and that everyone buckled in correctly.”

The car seat safety check is being held Saturday, Sept. 29, at Walmart at 6020 Harrison Rd. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All parents and caregiver are invited to attend this free event. Learn more about NCHD by visiting NCHD52.org/Car-Seat-Safety.

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