To schedule a car seat inspection with the Forsyth County Fire Department or for more information, call (770) 781-2180, Ext. 0, or visit www.safekids.org.
The Forsyth County Fire Department is on a mission this week to protect the community’s youth.
According to the department, nearly all of the child safety seats trained fire personnel inspect have been improperly installed.
It’s a problem the department aims to remedy during child Passenger Safety Week, which runs through Saturday.
“It can be a number of things. Often times, they’re just not in tight enough,” said Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers. “It goes all the way up to it just being blatantly incorrectly installed or at worse, we’ve found them not installed at all.
“The seat is merely [placed] in the seat of the vehicle and not strapped at all to the vehicle. That, of course, provides virtually no protection to the child.”
During child passenger safety week and throughout the year, the fire department’s trained technicians show parents, guardians and caregivers how to properly install a car seat.
They can also determine if a child is the right size for a particular car seat and ensure that model hasn’t been recalled.
Shivers said checking for recalls is “a critical component” to a safely installed car seat.
Fire staff undergo a 40-hour educational car seat inspection program that requires recertification every two years, said Shivers, noting there are hundreds of different seat types, styles and brands.
Parents can seek help year round from fire personnel, but Shivers said the safety week is designed to help them be self-sufficient.
“The goal is not to do it for them,” he said. “We show the parent or guardian how to properly install it. Then we remove it and assist the parent or guardian with installing it themselves, with the whole end goal being educating the adult on how to do it.
“There will obviously be occasions where someone needs to remove the car seat and if we haven’t taught them how to install it properly themselves, then we’ve failed.”
Shivers said parents should call in advance to schedule an inspection.
“It’s is very important for parents, grandparents and caregivers to know proper child safety seat installation techniques,” Shivers said.