In partnership with the California Highway Patrol and the Colusa County Department of Public Health, the group hosted a Car Seat Checkup event on Saturday, May 31, 2014.
With several certified child passenger safety technicians on hand, car seats were checked for proper installation. Parents and caregivers were also advised on how to choose the right car seat and install them properly in their vehicles.
“All children were checked to see if they met their current car seat’s height and weight requirements,” said Officer Kristen Murphy of the California Highway Patrol, “We also check car seats to see if they’ve expired or have a proper label; if a seat is expired they are given a new one at little, to no cost.”
As vehicles moved throughout the day, technicians discovered that 90% of the car seats were improperly in-stalled and roughly a dozen car seats needed to be replaced. The technicians serviced 25 child car seats that day.
“Our job is to make sure that the kids are safer then when they first came in.” said Murphy.
With the cost of car seats a wide variable, the California Highway Patrol advises against purchasing used car seats from friends, relatives, or even at yard sales.
“You don’t know what kind of condition that seat is in,” said Murphy, “If the car seat has been in even the smallest accident, it compromises your child’s safety.”
Car seats were also checked for recalls and instructions were given to parents and caregivers on where to obtain the appropriate replacement parts.
Parents and caregivers were also educated on how to determine if their car seat is expired. With a life expectancy of 5 years, car seats are often stamped with a manufacture date, or a sticker is placed on the car seat it-self.
Why do car seats expire? Car seats are given an expiration date as technology improves and standards change; additionally the materials in car seats wear down and overtime the seat base can develop hairline fractures which may shatter in a crash.
As of Jan. 1, 2012, California law extended the length of time a child must use a child passenger restraint or safety seat by two additional years while riding in a motor vehicle. The new law requires child passengers to ride in either a car seat or booster seat until the age of 8, or until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
Although attendance was down from prior events, Schsleen Lee, the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program Coordinator for the Colusa County Department of Health, commented that several car seat classes are hosted throughout Colusa County with rising attendance.
Car seats that were discarded during the day were destroyed and disposed of by the Colusa City Fire Department.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Agencies that participated in the May 31st event include: the California
Highway Patrol, the Colusa County Health Department, First Five Colusa County, and the Yuba City Police Department.■